Monocrystalline solar panels vs. Polycrystalline solar panels

Which ones are right for you?

Over the past decade, the popularity of solar panels has increased dramatically. With more and more people choosing to go green and purchase solar panels for their homes, the price of solar panels has dropped and the technology has improved. For many homeowners, once they decide to purchase solar panels, questions can arise. A big question is which kind of solar panels should they use. Here is a breakdown of two types of solar panels and possible benefits they may have. 

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline panels are made from a single-crystal silicon. To make solar cells for monocrystalline solar panels, silicon is melted and formed into one large rod or bar. This rod is then sliced into thin wafers. The wafers are then ready to be used in solar cell assembly. 

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline solar panels are also made from silicon, however, instead of being created from a single crystal, they are made from multiple silicon fragments. Melted silicon is cooled as pieces, or fragments, which are then molded together into the needed shape. It is then cut into wafers for the panel.

Appearance

Monocrystalline solar panels: 

  • have square wafers with rounded corners
  • the result is a small gap between the cells
  • the solar panel looks dark due to the purity of the silicon

Polycrystalline solar panels: 

  • are square, without any rounded edges. 
  • they take on a blue color due to the way the sun interacts with the many crystallines

Efficiency

To determine the efficiency of solar panels, the amount of captured sunlight that is converted into electricity is measured. The higher the number, the more efficient the system.

  • Monocrystalline solar panels: have an efficiency range from 15% to 20%
  • Polycrystalline solar panels: have an efficiency range from 13% to 16%

Temperature Coefficient

Temperature coefficient is the metric that measures how well solar panels function when the temperature is higher. It is a negative value because as the temperature rises, the efficiency decreases.

  • Monocrystalline solar panels: rate is -0.3% to -0.45% on the Celsius scale. This means that they produce 20% more electricity on average than polycrystalline solar panels.
  • Polycrystalline solar panels: the rate is -0.5% on the Celsius scale 

Life Span

The amount of electricity produced by solar panels is reduced, or degrades each year. This affects the panels’ effective lifespans.

  • Monocrystalline solar panels: Have a lifespan of around 40 years
  • Polycrystalline solar panels:  Have a lifespan of around 35 years

 Cost

The cost of purchasing and installing solar panels depends on a number of factors. These include: the number of panels you need, your average energy use, the output of the solar panels and the amount of sunshine your home receives.

  • Monocrystalline solar panels: A standard 250-watt panel can run from $250 to $375. This makes the average cost to purchase an entire monocrystalline system range from $6,000 to $9,000.
  • Polycrystalline solar panels:  A standard 250-watt panel can run from $225 to $250. This makes the average cost to purchase an entire polycrystalline system range from $5,400 to $6,000.

Which One Is Right For You?

As you can see there are benefits in choosing either monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels. The monocrystalline solar panels rank better for efficiency, temperature coefficient and lifespan. However, these advantages come with a cost, as the price for a monocrystalline solar panel system can be thousands of dollars more than a polycrystalline system. So if cost is a concern then polycrystalline solar panels may be the better choice for your home. You will still get all the benefits that solar power has to offer- green energy and lower electricity bills! 

Want to Read More About Solar Topics?

Take a look at some of our other articles about solar energy.

For More Information

At NC SOLAR NOW, we are North Carolina’s Most Trusted solar panel installer and embrace the philosophy that solar is for everyone! We’ll be by your side from your first free virtual consult through our warranty period and beyond. Visit us online at NC SOLAR NOW, send us a message, or call us at 919-833-9096.

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