If you have decided to go solar but do not know which type of solar panel will suit your requirements the best – monocrystalline or polycrystalline, the following study will probably be of great assistance. This will help you to know about the types, their key differences, their merits and demerits, a comparative study and finally the factors based on which you can make your choice!
What Is The Main Factor That Differentiates Monocrystalline Solar Panels From Polycrystalline Ones?
Polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels work the same way in the solar PV system. They trap the energy from the sun and transform it into electricity. Both are made from the durable, abundant element, Silicon. The main difference between the two is the kind of silicon solar cell used for each. For the monocrystalline solar panels, the solar cells are made from a single crystal of silicon. But for the polycrystalline variety, the solar panels have cells made from many silicon fragments melted together.
What to know about monocrystalline solar panels?
Monocrystalline solar panels are premium solar products having higher efficiencies and sleeker aesthetics. To make solar cells for monocrystalline panels, silicon is made into bars and cut into wafers. The silicon used is single-crystal silicon and as the cell is made of a single crystal, the electrons that cause the flow of electricity have more space to move. Thus, efficiency-wise, monocrystalline panels are far better.
What to know about polycrystalline solar panels?
Polycrystalline solar panels are less efficient than the monocrystalline varieties and naturally are lower priced too. These solar panels have a blue hue while the monocrystalline ones have a black tint.
Polycrystalline solar panels are also made of silicon. But in place of using a single crystal of silicon, many fragments of silicon are melted together to form wafers for the panel. These panels are also known as “multi-crystalline” or many-crystal silicon. Due to the presence of many crystals in each cell, the electrons have less freedom to move and consequently, the efficiency of polycrystalline panels is less.
Polycrystalline solar cells usually have a lower temperature coefficient than the monocrystalline ones. This temperature tolerance will help it to generate more electricity over the year.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of monocrystalline solar panels?
The advantages –
- Smaller installation area required
- Good performance under low irradiation conditions
- High efficiency
- Long life-span (25-year warranty)
The disadvantages –
- When solar panel gets covered by dirt, snow or shade, circuit breakdown occurs
- Wastage of silicon at the time of manufacturing
- Most expensive
- Performance falls while increasing the operating temperature, but not significant enough and less than polycrystalline
What are the advantages and disadvantages of polycrystalline solar panels?
The advantages :
- No silicon waste
- Cheaper and simpler manufacturing process
The disadvantages :
- Needs more installation area than the monocrystalline variety
- Lower efficiency due to low silicon purity
- Lower architecture integration
- Lower performance while increasing the operating temperature, not significant enough
How about a comparative study between the monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels?
|Efficiency||More; even better in low light condition||Less, more so in low light condition|
|Longevity||25+ years||25+ years|
|Cost||More expensive||Less expensive|
|Aesthetics||Uniform Black hue||Bluish hue – uneven texture and hue|
|Manufacture||Silicon is formed into bars and cut into wafers||Fragments of Silicon are melted to form wafers|
|Wastage||More wastage in production||Less wastage during manufacturing|
Which to choose – Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline?
The main reason for going solar is precisely “saving money.” You will reduce your utility bill irrespective of the kind of panel you choose. What are the other factors that you need to consider before making your final choice? Let us find out ……
Space Limitations – If the amount of space available on your roof is limited, you should go for the more efficient solar panels. In such cases, monocrystalline solar panels are better suited as these would maximize electricity production. But if you have a lot of space on your roof or are installing ground-mounted solar, you can opt for the lower-efficient polycrystalline variety as that would be more economic.
Personal Choice – If the color of your solar panels is a point of concern for you, the typical monocrystalline solar panel will have a dark black color while the polycrystalline one will have a bluer shade. It is for you to choose.
Again if the manufacturer is of utmost importance, find out the name of the company where the panels you are to install have been manufactured.
Solar Financing – The way you finance your system can be another controlling factor. If you go for a power purchase agreement (PPA), you pay for every kilowatt-hour of electricity produced by your system. This shows that your monthly payments will determine the savings you make. On the other hand, if you are buying your system, if you pay for the more efficient monocrystalline panels it can result in higher returns on your investment.
Locality – If you are living in low-light areas and a less hot region, it is better to go for the monocrystalline variety as these are more effective in such conditions.
The option you go for is entirely based on your personal needs, space constraints, preference, financing option and more. But before doing so go through a proper comparative study of the two types and find out which suits your needs the best so that you make an informed choice because you do not change solar panels every other day!