60-Cell vs 72-Cell Solar Panels: Everything you need to know
The two most common types of solar panels on the market today are 60-cell and 72-cell solar panels. In this article we will explain the difference between these two types of solar panel as well as explain which one will be best for your solar installation.
What is the difference between 60-cell and 72-cell solar panels?
When it comes down to it, the only real key difference between 60-cell and 72-cell solar panels is size. Solar panels are made up of individual solar cells that can be seen as the “squares” that make up the panel. Obviously, 72-cell solar panels have 12 more solar cells than 60-cell solar panels.
The extra dozen solar cells cause 72-cell solar panels to be larger in size than the 60-cell solar panels. According to Medium.com, here are the average sizes of these two types of solar panels:
60-cell solar panels are 1.65m (5.41 feet) tall and weigh about 20kg (44.90 lbs).
72-cell solar panels are 1.95m (6.40 feet) tall and weigh about 28kg (61.73 lbs).
For sizing reasons alone, 60-cell solar panels are often used in residential and mobile applications, whereas 72-solar panels are commonplace in utility scale projects where limited space is not an issue.
Wattage and Power Output of 60-Cell and 72-Cell Solar Panels
Naturally, it is logical to think that more solar cells implies more solar power. However, this is not always the case. Although 72-cell solar panels are generally rated at higher wattages, In some instances, 60-cell solar panels may have more output capacity than 72-cell solar panels. The most important factor in determining which solar panel is best for the price is determining the cost per watt.
Let’s take a look at 2 different solar panels. The first is a 300W 60-cell solar panel that costs $200. The second is a 350W 72-cell solar panel that costs $225. The cost per watt of each solar panel respectively would be $0.66 & $0.64. Therefore, if you have room for either type of panel, in this case, the 72-cell solar panel would be more cost efficient. Although the difference may seem insignificant, accounting for multiple panels over many years, maximizing your cost per watt will lead to the largest financial savings.
Cost of Installing 60-Cell and 72-Cell Solar Panels
In large scale commercial or utility applications, installers tend to use 72-cell solar panels in order to save money on the cost of installation. This is because 72-cell solar panels require less racking material, fewer electrical connections, and less security clamps than 60-cell solar panels. Of course, if you were to boil these costs down to a residential solar install, there would still be some savings incurred, but at a lower rate.
Your solar panels will also have an influence on the rest of your system. If you are planning to use micro inverters rather than one large solar inverter, you will need to make sure that each is appropriately sized for your solar panels, especially when using 72-cell solar panels. Conversely, if you are powering a battery bank, one 60-cell solar panel alone may not provide enough voltage to charge the battery.
When designing your solar energy system, there is a chance that choosing either 60-cell or 72-cell solar panels will be best for your needs. If you are strapped for available space for your system, like on a residential roof, van, or an RV, choosing 60-cell solar panels will help maximize the number of panels you can install. If you are not constrained by a small amount of usable space, it is important to weigh your options and choose the panel that is most efficient and affordable. After all, when installing solar the goal is always to maximize your budget and solar power potential!
We hope this article was able to provide some insight in choosing your solar panels. You can compare your options by browsing our selection of solar panels, or schedule a free consultation to discuss your project with a solar power expert.