We see solar panels having solar cells from 36 cells to 144 cells.
Each silicon cell, cut into square pieces, joined, and encapsulated in an aluminium frame called a solar module.
Today in this post, I will discuss the basic difference between the 60 cells vs 72 cells.
What is solar photovoltaics?
It is a technology that converts sunlight into electricity.
Read: What are the basics of solar electricity?
When the sunlight falls on the solar cell, the electrons in the outermost shell get excited and gain enough kinetic energy that sets them free and produces an electric current.
Why do we see different number of cells in solar panels?
One silicon cell produces approximately 0.5 volt that is not enough to run our electrical appliances.
Therefore, several silicon cells are connected to increase the voltage for our use.
When these cells are connected series, the voltage adds up.
For example, when 36 cells are joined in series, they produce 36 x 0.5 volt = 18 volts.
This voltage is perfect for charging a 12 volts battery as we need higher voltage to charge the battery.
Therefore 36 cells solar panels are also called 12 volts nominal voltage solar panel.
Similarly, 72 solar cells when connected in series, produce 36 volts that are ideal for charging 24 volts battery bank.
Hence is also called 24 volts nominal voltage solar panel.
A 72 cell solar panel produces 36 volts and is good for charging 24 volts better hence it is called having nominal voltage of 24 volts.
Earlier, solar panels were used for off-grid solar power systems where their main purpose was to charge the batteries.
Read: How to choose the solar systems matching your energy needs?
Therefore, manufacturers use to design solar panels based on battery voltage.
With the advancement in technology, we see a grid-tied solar power system where solar power system runs in complement with grid power (in the day solar panels run the electrical appliances and, in the night, the grid takes the charge).
Thereafter, the designing of solar panels became less dependent on battery voltage.
Therefore, we see manufacturers coming up with a different number of solar cells such as 60 cells solar panels.
In addition, the MPPT technology makes it possible to connect any solar panel such as 60 cells or 72 cells to charge even 12 volts battery bank without the power loss.
In today’s post, I’m going to discuss the difference between 60-cells and 72-cells solar panels.
60 cells vs. 72 cells: The difference
Indeed, both are used for running electrical appliances.
However, there are few striking differences between 60-cells and 72-cells solar panels.
Let us discuss these differences by analysing the datasheet of one of the reputed solar brands of India, Waaree.
Let us also look (below) at the part of datasheet of 72-cells solar panels by Waaree.
The 72-cells solar panel produces more power than the 60-cells solar panel.
The reason is simple when more cells are connected, they will produce more current and will have a higher voltage, resulting in more power.
ARKA Series 60 cells have solar panels in the range of 315 watts to 330 watts
The same series with 72 cells solar panels has a power rating of 380 watts to 385 watts.
The solar panels are three-dimensional products having length, width, and thickness.
When we look at their size, we see that 72-cells solar panels are taller than the 60-cells solar panels.
60 cells solar panel (315 watts to 330 watts): 1660 mm (L) x 1003 mm (W) x 40 mm (T)
72 cell solar panel (380 watts to 395 watts): 1985 mm (L) x 1003 mm (W) x 40 mm (T)
We find that the 72-cells solar panels are 19.6% taller than their counterparts while the other two dimensions width and thickness are the same.
Extra height (%) = (1985 mm – 1660 mm)/1660 mm x 100%
The 72-cells solar panels are heavier than the 60-cells solar panels.
60 cells solar panel: 19 kgs
72-cells solar panel: 22.5 kgs
(22.5 kgs – 19 kgs)/19 kgs x 100% = 3.5/19 x 100% = 18.4%
Reason: When we have more solar cells connected, we need more material to encapsulate them into a frame.
More material means extra weight.
Both 60-cells and 72-cells solar panels can have the same technology.
We can see that both types are of MonoPERC technology.
72-cells solar panels myths busted
There are several myths surrounding the use of 72-cells solar panels.
Let me discuss a few of them.
a) Not fit for residential purposes:
One myth that is surrounding is that 72-cells solar panels are not fit for residential purposes.
Yes, they are preferred over 60-cells solar panels for commercial applications and other large solar projects.
They require fewer electrical connections, less racking structure, fewer clamps to fix them, and due to it is fast to achieve economies of scale.
There is no technical reason that can make them unfit for residential purposes.
Home-owners can also enjoy the benefits of 72-cell solar panels.
b) Installation is difficult
Another myth, installation is difficult as 72-cells solar panels are heavyweight.
72-cells solar panels are indeed heavier than the 60-cell solar panels.
But this difference is not that much which stops you to use them for residential purposes.
You can see that there is a difference in the weight of the two categories.
One is 19 kgs (60-cells solar panel) and another is 22.5 kgs.
Two persons are required to pick a 19 kgs panel and the same two persons can lift the 22.5 kgs solar panel also, you don’t need a third person to do the job.
Yes, due to their extra weight, the installation process is a bit tiring, you need fewer panels that in turn reduces the installation time.
In addition, you don’t need to spend extra on mounting structures, the ones which support 60-cells solar panels can do the job unless you are living in a hurricane-prone area.
In that case, you need a thicker mounting structure.
Read: How much stress solar panels put and how much area they occupy on the roof?
When to choose 60 cells vs. 72 cells?
The first criterion is to look for their per-unit cost.
The one which is having less per watt cost, select it for your home.
Another criterion is space.
In case you are short of space and want more power then 72-cells solar panels are the right choice.
It depends on your energy needs, cost-per-watt, and the space.
Both are equally efficient in their categories.
It is the overall cost of the solar power system that matters in finding the payback of the system.
In case you are planning to have a solar power system on your rooftop.
It is a good idea to know the design and the payback using Solar Feasibility Spreadsheet.
I hope you find this post interesting.
And do share your views in the comment section.
Have a nice day