Why Are Solar Panels Black?

  • By: Brian Comstock
  • Date: February 17, 2022
  • Time to read: 3 min.

Solar panels are black because most solar energy is in the ultraviolet, infrared, and visible spectrum.

Solar cells can be made to absorb light from all spectrums but most efficiently work with visible light, which is why they are mostly black.

They also need a certain amount of heat to function properly, so they will need protection from the sun’s rays that may cause them damage over time.

5 Reasons Why Solar Panels are Black

1. Efficiency (and shade)

Solar energy panels are black because they absorb the maximum amount of sunlight, mostly in the ultraviolet and visible light spectrum.

The sun’s radiation that reaches us is about 44% visible light, 3% Ultra-Violet (UV), and 50% infrared (IR). Solar panels harness both types, which leads to an overall efficiency of 15%-20%.

sun and solar panel

However, solar panels only absorb between 80%-90% of UV light. If solar cells absorbed 100% of UV light, it would result in overheating, which could shorten their lifespan or even melt them.

This means they need a shaded area to cool off; otherwise, they quickly lose their efficiency.

2. Durability and life span

Black is the best color for absorbing heat and, as such, outperforms other colors.

Solar panels absorb about 85% of the sun’s rays, which means they can be left in direct sunlight without any risk to their durability or life span.

solar panel on cottage roof

PV panels are covered by tempered glass for this exact reason, as well as extra insulation and protection from harsh weather conditions.

All these features combined ensure that solar cells will last decades without needing a top-up. As a result, black solar panels have a typical lifespan of over 40 years – twice as long as white ones.

3. Cost-effectiveness

Solar energy is currently one of the most cost-effective methods for harnessing electricity, but it does still depend on where you live.

In places where sunlight is plentiful, black PV panels generate more electricity for the same price.

solar sunset

This is because the solar cells are sensitive to all wavelengths, so they perform better when exposed to more of the sun’s rays.

4. Heat management

Black surfaces always give off less heat than lighter surfaces since they don’t reflect any of it – in fact, they absorb it all and emit some back into their surroundings too.

As a result, solar panels work best in hot climates where they can stay cool while absorbing lots of light.

africa

One study found that adding a white coating to PV cells, even if just on the edges only, could reduce power generation by 12%.

5. Style

Not everyone wants white or grey solar panels on their roof.

Black panels are a stylish modern alternative that blends in with rooftops and does not stand out when combined with other black rooftop features such as solar battery storage.

solar panels on rooftop

Thanks to the renewable energy industry’s inexorable growth, more homeowners are opting for clean energy solutions which are also aesthetically pleasing.

Black solar panels are a better choice for your roof because they absorb more light and produce more energy. They also look great on white roofs!

The next time you go shopping for solar modules, consider these three reasons to buy black instead of traditional clear or silver-colored ones.

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