When evaluating solar panels for your photovoltaic (PV) system, you will come across two basic types of panels: monocrystalline solar panels (mono) and polycrystalline solar panels (poly). Both types of panels generate energy from the sun, but there are some important distinctions to be made.
Monocrystalline solar panels and polycrystalline: it’s all about the cells
Both these types of solar panels perform the same purpose in a solar PV system. They gather solar energy and convert it to electricity. They are also both formed of silicon. Silicon is utilised in solar panels because it is a plentiful and long-lasting element. Many manufacturers of solar panels create both.
Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels can be good choices for your home. But there are key differences that you should understand before making your final solar purchase decision. The main difference between the two technologies is the type of silicon solar cell they use. Monocrystalline solar panels have solar cells made from a single crystal of silicon. Whereas, polycrystalline solar panels have solar cells made from many silicon fragments melted together.
Monocrystalline solar panels
We generally think of Monocrystalline solar panels as a premium solar ct. The main advantages of monocrystalline panels are higher efficiencies and sleeker aesthetics.
To make solar cells for monocrystalline solar panels, silicon is formed into bars and cut into wafers. These types of panels are called “monocrystalline” to indicate that the silicon used is single-crystal silicon. Because the cell is composed of a single crystal, the electrons that generate a flow of electricity have more room to move. As a result, monocrystalline panels are more efficient than their polycrystalline counterparts.
Polycrystalline solar panels
Polycrystalline solar panels have lower efficiency than monocrystalline panels, but they are less expensive. Furthermore, polycrystalline solar panels have a blue colour rather than the black hue of monocrystalline panels.
Silicon is also put to use to make polycrystalline solar panels. Instead of a single crystal of silicon, producers melt numerous shards of silicon together to form the panel’s wafers. “Multi-crystalline” or “many-crystal silicon” is another name for polycrystalline solar panels. Because each cell contains a large number of crystals, electrons have less freedom to migrate. As a result, polycrystalline solar panels have lower efficiency ratings than monocrystalline panels.
What are the Key Metrics?
At the end of the day, it’s all about the metrics. Here’s how monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels stack up against each other in a few key areas:
|MONOCRYSTALLINE PANELS||POLYCRYSTALLINE PANELS|
|Cost||More expensive||Less expensive|
|Efficiency||More efficient||Less efficient|
|Aesthetics||Solar cells are a black hue||Solar cells have a blue-ish hue|
|Lifespan||25+ years||25+ years|
Monocrystalline vs. polycrystalline solar panels: which are right for you?
Saving money is one of the best reasons to go solar, and whether you choose mono or poly solar panels, you’ll be decreasing your electricity bills. The option you choose comes down to your personal preferences, space constraints, and the financing option you choose.
Personal preferences: If the colour of your solar panels is important to you, remember that monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels tend to appear differently on your roof. The typical monocrystalline panel will tend to have a darker black colour, while the typical polycrystalline panel will typically come in a bluer colour.
Space constraints: You should prefer a higher-efficiency solar panels if your PV system size is limited by the amount of space available on your roof. Because of this, paying the extra cost for more efficient monocrystalline panels that can help you maximize your electricity production will make more sense in these scenarios. Alternatively, if you have a lot of roof space or are installing ground-mounted solar, then lower-efficiency polycrystalline can be a more economic option.
Solar financing: How you finance your system can also play a part in determining which type of panel you choose. For example, if you choose a power purchase agreement (PPA), you pay per kilowatt-hour for the electricity produced by the system. This means that, above any type of equipment you’re being offered, your monthly payments will determine your savings. By contrast, if you are buying your system, paying more for high-efficiency monocrystalline panels can result in higher returns on your solar investment.