Are Black Solar Panels The Best Option?

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Jack Ayre

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The rise of renewable energy has transformed the energy landscape in recent years, and solar power is at the forefront of this transformation. However, with multiple options available, like blue and black solar panels, knowing where to start can be challenging.

While blue and black solar panels have unique advantages, black is becoming increasingly popular because of its sleek look and efficiency. But did you know that black solar panels are typically harder to source than blue ones?

Thanks to ESE Group, that’s no longer a problem for our clients. We know the benefits black solar panels offer, so we offer them as part of our services too!

To help you decide if black solar panels are right for you, fill out our online form today, and you could be in contact with one of our solar experts within 48 hours. Whilst you wait, read on below to find out everything you need to know about black solar panels.

What Makes Solar Panels Blue Or Black?

As solar panels have become more popular, you may have seen blue panels on quite a few rooftops throughout the UK. These classic blue panels were the most commonly installed panel type traditionally.

Blue solar panels owe their colour to the polycrystalline silicon that forms them. Polycrystalline silicon is made by melting many tiny crystals together. In contrast, black panels are made of monocrystalline silicon, or single silicon crystals, which gives them their black colour.

It’s also worth noting that if your solar panels have an anti reflective coating then this can make the solar panels appear blue or black depending on the coating used.

What Are The Differences Between Polycrystalline And Monocrystalline?

Blue polycrystalline solar panels and black monocrystalline solar panels contain solar cells which convert sunlight into electricity. For both types of solar panels, silicon crystals make up the solar cells. However, their production processes and efficiency ratings are different which makes them appear different. Here’s a more detailed look into the main differences between polycrystalline and monocrystalline.

Production Processes

To make blue polycrystalline panels, silicon crystal fragments are melted, formed into cubes, and cut into thin wafers. Therefore, many pieces of crystals form each of the solar cells.

On the other hand, each solar cell in black monocrystalline panels is made from a slice of a single crystal of silicon that is shaped into octagons to maximise the number of solar cells in the panel.

Making monocrystalline panels is a more precise and rigorous process than making polycrystalline panels. Therefore, manufacturers require more time and energy to make them.

Efficiency Ratings

Efficiency ratings are a measure of how much sunlight hitting the panels is actually converted into electricity.

Blue solar panels usually have an efficiency rating between 13% and 18%. On the other hand, black solar panels have higher ratings of between 15% and 20%. Some experimental models even reach up to 50% efficiency.

Polycrystalline is less efficient because there’s less space for the electrons to move around with the melted fragments of silicon.

What Are The Pros Of Black Solar Panels?

In recent years, more manufacturers and installers are choosing to offer black solar panels as an option. Many people prefer installing black instead of blue solar panels.

So, what’s the reason behind the popularity of black solar panels?

Aesthetic Value

Aesthetic value is a weighty consideration for most home and business owners when they’re contemplating a switch to solar energy. In the past, blue solar panels were sometimes considered unattractive and may have contributed to home and business owners rejecting the idea of solar panels on their property as a result.

Black solar panels are a more attractive option with their black frame. They look sleek and modern. They also blend in more seamlessly against dark roofs and enhance a building’s visual appeal.

Their uniform, black colour also lends a sense of continuity and symmetry to solar arrays, making them look cleaner, even when natural dirt and dust build up over time.

You’ll also notice differences between solar panel manufacturers such as JA solar panels and SunPower in terms of how much weight they put on aesthetic value. For example, SunPower have patented a technology that allows them to take the wires from the surface of their black solar panel and instead replaces them with back contacts hidden underneath. This provides smooth all-black cells that are also more efficient and aesthetically pleasing.

Efficiency

Because black absorbs more light than any other colour, black solar panels can absorb more sunlight than blue ones. Blue solar panels tend to reflect some of the sunlight that hits them.

Apart from that, their higher efficiency ratings due to their monocrystalline structure allow them to convert more sunlight into energy than blue panels.

Black panels can produce more energy even on cloudy days. With black panels, your home or business can depend more on solar energy, potentially reducing your electricity costs in the long run.

Space Savers

Black solar panels can produce more power per square foot than blue panels. Hence, you’ll need to install fewer panels to provide sufficient energy than if you were installing blue panels. This perk can be especially beneficial for people with limited roof space to mount solar panels.

Roof Top Black Solar Panels

What Are The Cons Of Black Solar Panels?

Despite the benefits of black solar panels, you should consider a few drawbacks before deciding on them. Here are a few cons that may affect your decision.

Price

If black solar panels are so much more efficient than blue ones, then why is the solar industry so slow to take them up? Well, black solar panels are typically more expensive than blue ones. This price difference is due to the more complex production process behind black panels, resulting in a higher cost per panel.

However, since you’ll need fewer black than blue panels to generate the same amount of power, it can close some of the price difference. The long-term savings from using solar energy can often outweigh the initial cost of the panels, and black solar panels’ efficiency may help you recoup some of the initial costs even quicker too.

Accessibility

Blue solar panels have been around for longer and are therefore more widely produced. As a newer product, black solar panels may be less accessible. Additionally, fewer installers in the UK may offer black panels as an option.

However, if you want higher-efficiency solar panels, we at ESE Group offer a premium all-black solar panel option in the UK.

Blue Or Black: What’s Better For You?

There are a few things to consider if you’re unsure whether to get blue or black solar panels. You should choose which best fits your needs and preferences.

These questions can help you decide.

Do You Prioritise Efficiency Over Initial Cost?

Black panels tend to cost more but have higher efficiency. In the long run, higher efficiency could result in higher savings. If you prioritise efficiency, black panels can be a better choice for you.

However, initial installation costs for solar panels can be heavy. If you’re on a limited budget and want to save as much on the expenses upfront, you may consider opting for blue panels.

Do You Care About Aesthetics?

Black solar panels are a better choice if you care about aesthetics. Even if the upfront cost is an issue for you, choosing a more aesthetically pleasing solar panel option may help sway your decision. If a solar panel looks better and performs better, it’s usually a popular choice for most home and business owners.

How Much Sunlight Does Your Area Receive?

Blue solar panels can produce sufficient electricity for your needs if you live in an area that’s sunny year-round. On the other hand, if it tends to be cloudy in your area, as it often is in the UK, black is the way to go.

How Much Roof Space Do You Have? 

As we mentioned, black solar panels are space savers. If you have a small roof space, black panels are your best bet. They’ll generate enough energy even if you only have a few of them mounted on your roof.

ESE Group’s All-Black Solar Panels

If you think black solar panels are the best choice for you, we at ESE Group are one of the few installers in the UK who offer all-black solar panels.

We only use premium, high-performing solar panels. The uniform alignment of our all-black solar panels absorbs more light and generates more electricity for your home!

Black Solar Panels Summary

Choosing highly-efficient, black solar panels is a wise investment for those who prioritise efficiency and aesthetics. With their sleek design and superior light absorption, black panels are the way to go for maximum energy generation in your home.

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Born in North West England, Jack kicked off his career in the insurance arena, dealing with claims for three years. Always up for a challenge, Jack leapt out of his comfort zone and embarked upon 5 years of excitement with the military.

Working for the Ministry of Defence, Jack specialised in counter-terrorism which took him to places such as Dubai, Oman, Iraq, Norway and Bahrain. During this period he worked with various Governments implementing strategic operations to prevent terrorism.

After travelling around various countries Jack increasingly came across various forms of solar from large solar farms to domestic solar panels. From here Jack took a keen interest in all things solar and started reading about the technological capabilities with a view to entering the industry after his career in the Ministry of Defence.

Once home after 5 fruitful years, Jack had 3 months leave in which he immersed himself in a solar crash course and got applying for jobs within the solar sector. He came across ESE Solar, a long-established forward-thinking company whose head office was only a stone’s throw away from him. He picked up the phone to see if there were any vacancies and within a week had a successful interview and obtained a full-time job, starting in the technical team.

Within the first few months, Jack onboarded in various online courses during work and social hours to speed up his knowledge of all things solar. Due to his strong work ethic and thirst for knowledge Jack was promoted to Head of Technical at ESE Solar. He currently leads the team and oversees the product development of new technologies within the company alongside assisting where necessary on their maintenance department.

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