Monocrystalline VS. Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline VS. Polycrystalline Solar Panels

When you begin your research for the most efficient solar power system for your home, you will come across a wide range of panels and inverter options that are currently available in the Australian market. In order to make the right decision while narrowing down the best options suited for your home, it is important to be aware of certain technical terms which determine the solar panel’s efficiency and overall performance. Monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels are the two most common types of solar energy receptors. The difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells is the configuration of the silicon:

  • Monocrystalline solar panels are those PV panels in which the cell is made of a single silicon crystal. These are sometimes referred to as "mono solar panels."
  • Polycrystalline solar panels: Each PV cell is made of multiple silicon crystal fragments that are melded together during manufacturing. You may see them called "multi-crystalline panels" or "poly panels."

Both types of solar panels have the same purpose: converting sunlight into electricity. However, the crystalline silicon structure of individual solar cells affects their performance and appearance. In fact, you can identify the type of panel by simply observing the shape and color of its solar cells.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels are characterized by their black PV cells with rounded edges. They have a higher conversion efficiency than polycrystalline panels, which means they produce more kilowatt-hours of electricity. If you want to install a solar panel system but your space is limited, monocrystalline panels will be more productive per square foot.

While they're the most efficient solar panels, they're also the most expensive, since the manufacturing process of single-crystal silicon cells is more complex.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline solar panels have blue-hued PV cells with straight edges. They have a lower efficiency compared with monocrystalline cells, which means you need more panels to reach the same power output. However, polycrystalline panels also have a lower price, since their manufacturing process is simpler.

Polycrystalline panels are very durable, but they tend to last slightly less than monocrystalline panels. They are also affected more by high temperatures, which reduces their productivity on the hottest days.

The cost of manufacturing solar panels

The silicon structure of each solar panel is the main factor that determines cost. To produce polycrystalline panels, manufacturers must simply pour molten silicon into square molds, then cut the resulting wafers into individual cells. On the other hand, to produce single-crystal solar cells, the solidification of silicon must be controlled very carefully. Because of this more complex manufacturing process, mono panels are more expensive.

The appearance of solar cells is also a result of their silicon structure, since it determines how they interact with sunlight and how they are perceived by human eyesight. The single-crystal structure of monocrystalline cells gives them a black color, while polycrystalline cells are blue.

Both solar panel types have a long lifespan, while their payback period is less than five years in many cases. Solar manufacturers normally offer a 25-year power production warranty, but some brands now come with 30-year warranty coverage.

Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline, which Solar Panels are Best for You?

Each type of solar panel has advantages and disadvantages, and you can get an excellent return on investment with both. However, to make your choice easier, consider the following factors when picking the best solar panels for your home:

Colour of the panels

Monocrystalline panels are black, while polycrystalline panels are blue. If you prefer one over the other, you can buy the respective solar panels to suit your taste.

Available space on the roof

The exact dimensions of home solar panels depend on their brand and manufacturer. The typical dimensions are 65 inches by 39 inches, equivalent to 17.6 square feet per panel, but monocrystalline panels offer more watts per square foot.

Your Budget

Polycrystalline solar panels are more affordable, but monocrystalline panels are more productive. If you have access to a solar loan with favourable interest rates, you can finance your solar installation and pay the loan off with the money you save on utility bills. In this case, the extra cost of monocrystalline solar panels won’t be an issue.

Also, make sure you compare several solar quotes. Monocrystalline solar panels are more expensive individually, but you must also consider other system components and installation costs. There may be cases in which a completed installation with monocrystalline panels is actually cheaper, even if a single panel costs more.

To start comparing costs, you can get a free, no-obligation quote from Sunmate solar today. Call us at 1300-078-662.

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