The two most common types of solar panels on the market today are 60-cell and 72-cell. Today, we explain the differences between these two types of solar panels and which one is 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 use individual solar cells that you can see 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 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
It is logical to think that more solar cells imply more solar power, but 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 figuring out which solar panel is best for the price is determining the cost per watt.
Let’s take a look at two 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 and $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 to save money on installation costs because 72-cell solar panels require less racking material, fewer electrical connections, and fewer security clamps than 60-cell solar panels. Of course, if you boiled these costs down to a residential solar install, there would still be some savings incurred, but at a lower rate.
Your solar panels also influence the rest of your system. If you plan to use micro-inverters instead of 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, either 60-cell or 72-cell solar panels will be best for your needs. If you are strapped for space for your system, for example, on a residential roof, van, or an RV, choosing 60-cell solar panels will maximize the number of panels you can install. If you have space, 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 we provided some insight into choosing your solar panels. You can compare your options by browsing our selection of solar panels or contact us to discuss your project with a solar power expert.