Solar Panels: Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline
When searching for solar panels for your premise, the two main categories of solar panel options you will encounter are monocrystalline solar panels and polycrystalline solar panels.
In terms of similarities, both types of panels serve the same function in the overall solar PV system. They are still playing the role of capturing energy from the sun and turning it into electricity. They are also both made from silicon because it is an abundant and durable element. In terms of differences, monocrystalline solar panels have solar cells made from a single crystal of silicon, while polycrystalline solar panels have solar cells made from many silicon fragments melted together.
Monocrystalline solar panels
Monocrystalline solar panels are also known as the premium solar product. This type of panels possess higher efficiencies and sleeker aesthetics.
To make monocrystalline solar panels, silicon is formed into bars and cut into wafers. These types of panels are called “monocrystalline” because the silicon used is single-crystal silicon. When the cell is composed of a single crystal, the electrons that generate electricity flow have more room to move; hence, they could be more efficient than their polycrystalline counterparts.
Polycrystalline solar panels
Polycrystalline solar panels generally have lower efficiencies than monocrystalline panels. However, polycrystalline panels have the advantage of being at a lower price point. In terms of appearance, polycrystalline solar panels usually have a blue hue while monocrystalline panels have a black hue.
To make polycrystalline solar panels, manufacturers melt many fragments of silicon together to form the wafers. Polycrystalline solar panels are also referred to as “multi-crystalline,” or many-crystal silicon. Because there are many crystals in each cell, there is less freedom for the electrons to move. As a result, polycrystalline solar panels are less efficient than monocrystalline panels.
Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels: Which Should You Choose?
The main considerations when deciding between monocrystalline solar panels and polycrystalline panels are these:
In terms of appearances, monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels would appear differently on your roof. Typical monocrystalline panels usually come in a darker black colour, while typical polycrystalline panels usually come in a bluer colour. If the colour of the panels and how they appear on your roof are important to you, do get to know about the company that made your mono or poly solar panels first.
If you are faced with space limitations, go with the higher-efficiency solar panels. If your roof could not accommodate the PV system size for your premise, efficient monocrystalline panels that can help you maximize your electricity production will be the ideal solution. Alternately, if you have a lot of roof space or are installing ground-mounted solar, lower-efficiency polycrystalline will be a more economic option.