If you are in the market to purchase your first or replacement solar panel, you will be confronted with the option of monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels.
It can be a tough decision, as both types of panels have their pros and cons. In this article, we will compare the two types of solar panels in terms of cost, efficiency, and durability to help you make the best decision for your needs.
What is a Monocrystalline Solar Panel?
Monocrystalline solar panels are made from a single large crystal of silicon. They are cut from a cylindrical ingot of silicon and then sliced into wafers. Monocrystalline solar panels are also known as “single-crystal” or “single-crystal silicon” (c-Si) solar panels.
Related: How Much Do Solar Panel Systems Cost? (PRICE CHECK)
What is a Polycrystalline Solar Panel?
Polycrystalline solar panels are made from multiple smaller crystals of silicon. They are made by melting raw silicon into a liquid, then pouring it into a mold and cooling it into rectangular ingots.
These ingots are then cut into square wafers. Polycrystalline solar panels are also known as “multi-crystal” or “poly-Si” solar panels.
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How Do Monocrystalline And Polycrystalline Panels Compare On Key Metrics?
The structure of the silicon used in polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels is the major factor that determines the price difference between them.
In essence, manufacturers pour molten silicon into rectangular molds to make polycrystalline panels, then cut the wafers into individual cells afterward. In contrast, producing single-crystal solar cells necessitates a more complicated method of solidification, which accounts for their higher cost.
When comparing the price of both panel types, keep in mind that monocrystalline solar panels are more expensive. The cost of inverters, wiring, electrical protections, racks, and labor is identical for both.
Consider that because monocrystalline solar panels are more efficient, you may get a higher return on your investment if you have a limited area for a solar panel installation.
Finally, keep in mind that both kinds of solar panels are still eligible for the federal solar tax credit if you live in the US.
Related: Lifecycle of solar panels
In general, monocrystalline solar panels are more efficient than polycrystalline ones.
This is due to the fact that monocrystalline panels are cut from a single crystal of silicon, which allows electricity to flow readily throughout the panel.
Monocrystalline solar panels have been observed to achieve efficiencies of over 23% in rare cases, whereas most polycrystalline models top out at around 20%.
The color of solar panels is the most significant distinction between them: monocrystalline panels are usually black, whereas polycrystalline ones may have a blue tinge to them.
The type of solar panel material used has little bearing on how long your panels will last.
Monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels both generate electricity effectively for 25 years or more.
Monocrystalline solar panels outperform polycrystalline ones in terms of temperature coefficient.
The temperature sensitivity of a panel is essentially its ability to function well at high temperatures (with percentages closer to zero being better), which explains why monocrystalline solar panels have a superior record in extreme heat.
Which Solar Panel Is Better Monocrystalline Or Polycrystalline?
The best reason to install solar panels is that you will save money on your energy bills.
Whether you choose to go with mono or poly solar panels, you'll be saving money on your electricity expenses. It all depends on your own preferences, space constraints, and financial plan.
Personal preferences: If the color of your solar panels means a lot to you, just remember that monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels have distinct colors on your roof.
The typical monocrystalline panel will be darker black in color, while the typical polycrystalline panel will be bluer in hue.
Also, if the company that manufactured your mono or poly solar panels is important to you, ensure you are well-informed about them.
Space constraints: If the amount of space on your roof prohibits you from installing a bigger PV system, more efficient solar panels are preferable.
Because of this, paying the extra money for more energy-efficient monocrystalline cells that may help you maximize your power generation will make more sense in the long run.
If you have plenty of roof space or want to put up ground-mounted solar, lower-efficiency polycrystalline panels could be a cheaper choice than higher-efficiency polycrystalline ones.
Solar financing: The type of panel you choose will depend on a variety of factors, including how you finance it. For example, if you opt for a power purchase agreement (PPA), each kilowatt-hour generated by the system is charged at cost.
This implies that your monthly payments will be the primary factor determining your savings, regardless of what equipment you're given.
If you buy your system and pay more for high-efficiency monocrystalline solar panels, on the other hand, your returns on investment may be higher.
Can you mix monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels?
Yes, if there are no important differences in the electrical characteristics of monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels, they can be used together. For optimum output, wire mono and poly solar panels in separate strings.