monocrstalline vs polycrystalline -solar panels types

Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels

When you take the decision of getting a solar PV system on the roof. You start searching the web for the best solar panels and inverters. It is the time when you realise that it’s that easy to choose the panels and inverter that best suits your needs. There are different types of solar panels in the market.

What are solar panels made of?

Solar panels are made from silicon (Monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels) and also from a different type of silicon known as amorphous silicon (Thin film solar panels). Now you might be wondering –

Which solar panel is the best?

The market is flooded with a large number of solar panel options but there are 2 main solar panel types available.

1. Monocrystalline

2. Polycrystalline

Monocrystalline vs polycrystalline solar panels – Similarities

1. Both mono and poly solar panels capture energy from the sun and turn it into electricity.

2. Both are made from silicon which is present in abundance and is a very durable element.

Solar panels Mono vs poly – Differences

The difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels lies in the making of solar panel cells.

In the making of mono solar panels, silicon is formed into bars and is cut into wafers. Mono indicates the cell is composed of single-crystal silicon, thus provides electrons with enough room to move.

While in the making of polycrystalline solar panels, many fragments of silicon are melted together to form the wafers for the panel. As many fragments of silicon are used, so the term ‘poly’ is used. It is also referred to as multi-crystalline.

Which are more efficient solar panels –Monocrystalline vs polycrystalline?

Monocrystalline solar panels are more efficient than Polycrystalline because, in mono, the cell is composed of a single crystal, the electrons that generate a flow of electricity have more room to move. On the contrary, many crystals are present in each cell in poly so there is less freedom for the electrons to move hence lower efficiency.

Between Monocrystalline solar panel and polycrystalline – which are economical?

Obviously Polycrystalline are more cost-efficient and if you have enough roof space to accommodate more number of panels, then you can go with poly panels. But currently, in 2020, the price difference is not significant between the two types and comparing the poly panels of today with that of past, their efficiency has also increased.

Let’s summarise the Key differences

Monocrystalline solar panels vs Polycrystalline

Monocrystalline Solar Panels Polycrystalline Solar Panels
These panels have solar cells made from a single crystal of silicon. In its making, silicon is formed into bars and cut into wafers. These panels have solar cells made from many silicon fragments melted together. In its making, many fragments of silicon are melted together to form the wafers for the panel. 
Have higher efficiency and sleeker aesthetics and hence considered as a premium solar product. Have comparatively lower efficiency.
Expensive Lower price
They have a darker black colour. They have a bluish colour.
Major manufacturers – 

Canadian solar

Sunpower

LG

Major manufacturers –

Hanwha

Trina

Benefits of Monocrystalline Solar panels

  • Need less space

    Monocrystalline panels generate roughly around 15-20 percent more electricity than other panels. So you need to buy less number of Monocrystalline panels compared to polycrystalline panels to achieve the required output and require less space than any other types.

  • High efficiency

    These are quite efficient in generating electricity, and that’s why they are used in space travels. They are durable and work well for a long time span. They come with a 25-year manufacturer warranty.

  • Higher Heat Resistance

    Heat decreases the efficiency of panels, so when the surface heats up beyond 50-degree celsius, the panels start to lose their usual energy output by nearly 15 percent. In such conditions, monocrystalline solar panels offer high conversion rate compared to other solar panels due to its higher resistance to heat. That’s also the reason for its longevity.

The major monocrystalline Panels manufacturers are:

You can click on the links above to get detailed information of those particular brands and panels.

There is one more option available but its use is quite rare in residential PV systems –

Thin Film Solar Panels.

They are also known as amorphous solar panels as these are made using Amorphous Silicon which is a different type of silicon. Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) and Copper Indium Selenide (CIGS) are also used sometimes. These are not popular due to their lower efficiency.