Should you go for polycrystalline or monocrystalline solar panels?
Author: Darvin Tocmo Date Posted:3 May 2017
Choosing between polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels always confuse solar buyers. Well, there’s no single answer to this but certain factors can help you decide.
Buying solar panels entails research. After all, it’s not exactly a cheap endeavor. The debate on polycrystalline vs monocrystalline confuse buyers of solar panels in particular. Which one should you buy? It depends on several factors.
Understanding polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels
Simply put, monocrystalline means “single crystal” while polycrystalline means “many crystals.” Their major difference lies in their silicon substrate composition. These silicon substrates have an important role in solar cells production and in turn, solar panels.
Monocrystalline's efficiency surpasses polycrystalline because large crystals make more efficient solar cells. However, it means more cost in production due to a more complicated process. And considering factors like location and project design parameters, it’s not always the better option.
When choosing between polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels, determine your specific goals for the solar project. Aside from location and design parameters, find out about labor costs and utility rate structures.
Pros and cons of polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels
Polycrystalline has many advantages. First, the process used to make polycrystalline silicon costs less. The amount of waste silicon is also less compared to monocrystalline. As for efficiency, polycrystalline solar panels possess lower silicon purity. It makes them not quite as efficient as monocrystalline solar panels.
On the other hand, monocrystalline solar panels tend to have higher heat tolerance than polycrystalline solar panels. This means that they perform better in high temperatures. Heat can affect the performance of solar panels and shorten their lifespans. However, this effect is minor, and most homeowners do not need to take it into account.
There’s also the issue of lower space-efficiency. You need to cover a larger surface to output the same electrical power as you would with a solar panel made of monocrystalline silicon. However, this does not mean every monocrystalline solar panel performs better than those based on polycrystalline silicon.