Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline Solar Panels: Which is Better?
You’re thinking about installing solar panels on your home, and for good reason; they significantly reduce your energy consumption, which isn’t only good for the planet – it’s good for your pocket. However, as you’re shopping around, you suddenly realize that choosing the right solar panels for your home is a bit more complex than you initially thought. That’s because there are different types of solar panels, and each one has pros and cons.
Two of the most commonly used solar panels are monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Both are comprised of crystalline silicone. So what’s the difference between them and which one is better? Below, we’ll give you an overview of each type of solar panel and discuss their pros and cons so you can decide which one is the right choice for your home.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystaline solar panels (often simply referred to as “mono” or single-crystaline) are made of a single crystal silicone structure. This type of solar panel have a uniform look and an even coloring, which is indicative of the high quality of silicone that is used to create these panels.
These panels are made of silicon ingots, which have a cylindrical shape. In order to maximize their performance and reduce their cost, four pieces are removed from the cylindrical ingots to create wafers, which is what creates the trademark look of these solar panels.
Benefits of Monocrystalline Solar Panels
- They are the oldest and one of the most trusted forms of solar panel technology.
- Since they are made of the highest-quality silicon, they offer the highest possible efficiency rating.
- Due to their high efficiency, fewer panels have to be used, so they don’t need as much space as other types of solar panels.
- They have a long life expectancy, as they can last for 25 years or more!
Disadvantages of Monocrystalline Solar Panels
- While the high-quality silicone they are made of offers definite benefits, it also means that these solar panels have the highest price tag.
- If even part of the solar panel is covered by shade, snow, dirt, leaves, or other debris, the whole circuit can stop working.
- Since they are cut into cylindrical ingots, a lot of the silicon they are made out of is wasted.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Polycrystalline (often referred to simply as “poly” or multi-crystalline) solar panels are a newer type of technology than monocrystalline solar panels. While they are also made of high quality silicone, the process in which they are made is different than mono panels.
Unlike mono panels, poly solar panels are not cut to create a cylindrical shape; rather, melted silicone is poured into a square-shaped mold. Once it’s placed into the mold, the silicone is cooled and then cut into squares, giving them their characteristic edges.
While it was once believed that polycrystalline solar panels were an inferior technology to monocrystalline panels, this is no longer the case. In fact, they are now more commonly used than mono panels for residential applications. That’s because they are more cost-effective and the technologies that are used to make them continues to improve their efficiency.
Benefits of Polycrystalline Solar Panels
- The manufacturing process used to create polycrystalline solar panels isn’t as involved as the manufacturing process used to create monocrystalline solar panels, which translates to less wasted product.
- These panels are much more cost-effective, thanks to the less involved manufacturing process.
- They tend to have a better heat tolerance than mono cells, which means that as heat increases, the output for these type of cells isn’t as reduced as much as the output of mono cells.
Cons of Polycrystalline Solar Panels
- They aren’t made of the same high-quality silicone as monocrystalline solar panels, which means that they aren’t as efficient.
- They take up more space than monocrystalline solar panels. Generally, you’ll have to cover a bigger area with these solar panels in order to get the same output as you would with mono panels.
- Their look isn’t as uniform as mono solar panels, which makes them significantly less aesthetically pleasing; however, the difference in their aesthetic appeal is slight and most people likely won’t notice.
Which is Better?
So, which type of solar panel is better, monocrystalline or polycrystalline? – Many people would say that mono panels are the better option, as they are made of higher quality silicone, are more efficient, and require less space; however, the differences between these two types of solar panels really are slight.
Which should you choose? – That depends on your specific needs. Speak to a reputable solar panel company to determine whether monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels are the right option for you. Whichever you choose, you can rest assured that you will still see a significant reduction in your energy consumption.