How do Commercial Solar Panels Compare to Residential Panels?

Commercial Solar panels have been the most sought-after alternative sources of energy, which are clean, cheap, and heavily incentivized with tax exemptions by various governments and organizations worldwide. With rising energy demands and lesser avenues to meet national demand and supply curves, governments worldwide have been encouraging citizens and industries to switch to cheap and readily available solar energy.

Fundamentally, solar panels are made with silicon wafers cascaded via electrical conductors and coupled with batteries to harness the ever-available solar rays into clean and green electricity. In scientific terms, the difference between residential and commercial solar panels is none. However, the cascading ratio, arrangement of PV cells, size, colour, and price tags may vary accordingly with the panel type.

Residential Panels

Principally, there are only two key arrangements considered in photovoltaic solar panels at the production stage, and both of them work identically for commercial as well as residential consumers. The monocrystalline panels are made by cutting a single wafer cell into several blocks and are characterized by blackish material. Also, monocrystalline panels have greater efficiency than their counterparts, which are polycrystalline solar panels. These bluish panels are made by combining multiple silicon crystals and then moulded into panel casing. Polycrystalline panels are a little less efficient than monocrystalline solar panels because of impurities. Practically, mono-cells are 30% more efficient than polycrystalline cells, and hence, more costly.

Solar Panels vs. Residential Panels

Both the mono- and polycrystalline panels can be utilized for residential as well as commercial purposes. The primary difference between the two is size and aesthetics. Residential buildings have constricted roof spacings, and a bit tilted sometimes, which makes it harder to install hefty panels on those rooftops. In contrast, commercial buildings have spacious and typically flat rooftops, making it easier to accommodate bigger panels quite comfortably.


The aesthetics have also been an important contributor towards choosing the panel type. Residential panels could only be bluish or plain black and both the combinations fit perfectly with residential buildings without ruining the surrounding prettiness. The commercial panels might be bluish, pitch black, silvery, or plain white, no rules barred. For commercial-purpose solar panels, the available space is generally larger, which allows for bigger panels to fit easily with the available space. Also, commercial panels are taller than their residential counterparts and harness more solar energy.


Residential solar panels are compact in size, measuring around 65 x 39 inches for a standard 72-cell single panel. Besides, there are many other panel types made for suburban rooftops, including 60-cell and 66-cell intermediate varieties according to the rooftop dimensions and energy requirements. Commercial panels have bigger dimensions, generally comprising 96-cell grading to produce more energy without increasing the number of PV units. The dimensions for commercial-purpose PV cells are normally around 78 x 39 inches.

Fitting Methods

The standard PV-cell installation is done with bolted racking method, which is applied by nearly all the solar panel installation companies worldwide. Bolted racking is convenient, easily accessible for servicing, and time-saving for installing PV cells on any surface. However, before installing the bolted racking, check if the building could sustain the method. Commercial buildings have flat surfaces, making installation easier and servicing hassle-free, whereas residential buildings often have slopy roofs or limited space to house panels immaculately. To get rid of this challenge, solar installation companies often employ penetrating racking to mount panels on houses.

Cost Breakdown

The panel-wise costs are always greater for a commercial setup. As commercial panels are bigger in size, they will always be expensive with their superior energy production capacity than the residential ones. Still, users usually make payments for panels’ cost per Watt they consume. Categorically, the cost factor does not make a difference if you are paying for estimated watts. A 3KW commercial panel will cost the same as for a residential one with similar specs.


Commercial and residential panels are interchangeable terms if the size is not an issue. For their bigger size, a standard 96-cell commercial solar panel produces 20% more energy than a 72-cell residential panel. In theory, both produce the same amount of energy per square foot with an equal efficiency ratio alongside other notable dynamics. The important difference between both panel types is the rooftop symmetry on which they are being installed and the incentives being offered by the government on each of the panel types. If the government is incentivizing residential panels with rebates and tax breaks, go for them. If it’s the other way round and looks don’t matter for you, go for commercial panels to secure the best deal.