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15 December 2023

The future of solar energy: Why rear contact cells lead the charge in colored and BIPV solar panels

In the dynamic landscape of solar technology, choosing the right type of solar cell for specific applications is crucial. At Kameleon Solar, a leader in innovative colored solar solutions, we believe that rear contact cells are the superior choice for colored solar panels and Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV).

Comparing Solar Cell Types

  1. Rear contact cells: These cells are unique because they have no conductive components on their front side. This feature is instrumental in creating a uniform black background, essential for colored solar panels. It ensures an uninterrupted graphic layer, boosting both aesthetics and efficiency. For BIPV applications, their sleek, uniform appearance integrates seamlessly with building designs, making them highly desirable.
  2. Monocrystalline cells: Dominating the market, these cells are known for high efficiency. However, their design includes silver components on the front, detracting from their aesthetic appeal in colored and BIPV applications. This front-side wiring can interfere with the coloration process, making them less suitable for such specialized uses.
  3. Thin film: This technology is celebrated for its flexibility and lower costs. However, in terms of power output, thin-film cells fall short when compared to rear contact cells. Their lower efficiency makes them less ideal for projects where maximizing energy generation is paramount.
  4. Perovskite: Representing the cutting edge of solar cell technology, perovskite cells hold great promise for future applications. However, they are still in the development phase and not yet ready for widespread industrial application. Their potential remains largely untapped, making them a future contender rather than a current solution.
Two back-contact cells of different sizes being held by a lab technician.

Back-contact cells are available in different size, do not have silver front-side contacts, and have a very high efficiency.

Image source:

Power, size, and aesthetics: a balanced view

  • Power efficiency: Rear contact cells lead in efficiency, outperforming thin-film and potentially matching or exceeding monocrystalline cells. Their design allows for maximum light absorption, translating to higher power output.
  • Size flexibility: Monocrystalline cells, while efficient, are limited in design flexibility due to their rigid structure. Thin-film cells offer more versatility in this regard, but at the cost of efficiency. Rear contact cells strike a balance, providing efficiency and a degree of flexibility suitable for BIPV applications.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Aesthetics play a vital role in BIPV and colored panels. Rear contact cells offer an unmatched sleek, uniform look, crucial for integrating solar technology into building designs and colored panels. Monocrystalline cells, despite their efficiency, fall short in this aspect due to their visible silver lines.

The ideal choice for colored and BIPV Panels

Kameleon Solar firmly believes that rear contact cells stand out as the best option for colored solar panels and BIPV systems. Their combination of power efficiency, size flexibility, and superior aesthetics aligns perfectly with the needs of modern solar applications. While other technologies like thin-film and perovskite have their merits, they currently do not match the comprehensive benefits offered by rear contact cells. As the solar industry evolves, the emphasis on not just efficiency but also aesthetics and integration will continue to grow, positioning rear contact cells as the go-to choice for innovative solar solutions.

Want to know more about our beautiful, colored solar panels? Check out our portfolio page or get in touch with us today.

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