Mosaic pattern on solar cells?

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I just bought my first solar panels, some Kyocera KC-65's. I notice that some of the cells in the panel have no texture at all while others are covered with a glittery marbling/mosaic pattern. And of course some are in between. What is this? Is it normal?

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  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,501 admin
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    Re: Mosaic pattern on solar cells?

    Look up Poly crystalline and Mono crystalline silicon PV cells--basically, the cheaper silicon blanks are made from bars of silicon that are composed of many different crystals in one block (seen by the kind of blue/rainbow/fractured look on the faces of the cells)--this is a cheaper material to make and produces a, slightly, less efficient solar PV cells.

    The Mono crystalline cells have only one crystal for the whole silicon blank--hence the more uniform color. Cells produced from mono crystalline silicon are slight more expensive and have slightly higher efficiencies.

    Mono crystalline cells are not to be confused with amorphous silicon PF cells. These cells also have a uniform black/dark color--but are much less expensive and have much lower watts per square ft/meter/etc. Also, they degrade rather dramatically after six months or so (vs 20+ years for poly/mono crystalline cells). These cells are frequently found on the little solar path lights and other less expensive panels.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset