Mono Vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Solar panels are widely used worldwide as power backup. They have also impacted the technology industry to the extent that every time someone thinks of constructing a house, the thought of solar panels also comes to mind. 

Technology is all about advancement, and solar panels are leading the way in technological advancement.

We can see that the current solar panels are far better than the first solar panels to enter the market.

This is mainly due to new challenges that lead to new ideas that cause a flow of technological improvement.

When installing solar panels in your house, you have to consider some things, such as the cost and, most importantly, the type of solar panel. Currently, the two main types of solar panels are monocrystalline and polycrystalline. 

Both solar panels harness the sun’s energy to create light, but each has different characteristics that make it better or worse than the other.

In this article, we will compare monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels and see how each works and which is better.

How does a solar panel work?

Solar panels allow photons or light rays to contact electrons, allowing electricity to flow.

They contain small cells called photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into electricity.

When many of these cells link together, they form the solar panel, producing light. 

Photovoltaic cells are usually made from silicon, made from silica minerals. Silicon is also the same material that is found in microelectronics.

So that the photovoltaic cells work, they need to establish an electric field that occurs when two opposite charges are separated. Phosphorus is said to be added to the top layer of silicon to add more electrons.

When the sun’s photons contact the silicon layers, an electric field is created. This electric field generates power from the solar panel.

What is a Monocrystalline solar panel?

The monocrystalline solar panel comprises monocrystalline solar cells. The cells comprise a cylindrical silicon ingot derived from high-purity single-crystal silicon, which provides the electrons with a bigger space for better electric flow. 

The monocrystalline solar cells have an octagonal shape known as wafers that ensure maximum utilization of the monocrystalline cells.

The single crystal from which the cylindrical silicon ingot is derived is what makes the monocrystalline panels have that name.

Monocrystalline solar panels work by the sunlight rays falling on the solar panel, and the monocrystalline cells absorb the energy, creating an electric field. The electric field consists of current and voltage that combine to form power. 

Because the monocrystalline solar panels are made of single-crystal silicon, electrons can flow easily through the cells to create energy that can be used to power devices in homesteads and companies.

Considering the first flow of electricity through the cells, the power of the monocrystalline solar panels can power a vast area, street lights, and rural gardens.

What is a polycrystalline solar panel?

Polycrystalline solar panels are solar cells that contain several crystals of silicon in a single PV cell.

They are formed from melted silicon fragments, including the wafer. They are also made from several silicon, which gives them a square shape and a bright blue hue. 

Unlike monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline solar panels have multiple silicon crystals.

Thus, there is limited space for the electrons to flow through the polycrystalline cells to produce energy.

For the polycrystalline solar panels to produce power, the solar panel absorbs heat from the sun, cells absorb the heat, and two electrodes are connected to the PV cells.

Due to their multiple silicon crystals, polycrystalline solar panels have little space for electrons to flow through.

Therefore they have lower heat tolerance than other types of solar panels. These solar panels have a maximum temperature of 85 degrees; therefore, at very high temperatures, they are less efficient.

Polycrystalline solar panels provide light in many places, such as big-scale farming. They are also used on streetlights and can power appliances and devices at home.

Mono Vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels: The Differences 

Here are the differences between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels.

Silicon crystals

In terms of their making, monocrystalline solar panels consist of a single silicon crystal that provides enough space for electrons to flow through the monocrystalline cells easily to produce power.

In contrast, polycrystalline solar panels consist of multiple silicon crystals that occupy a bigger space, thus preventing the easy flow of electrons through the polycrystalline cells from producing power.

Efficiency 

Because of the silicon crystals, monocrystalline solar panels are more efficient than polycrystalline solar panels. As stated, polycrystalline solar panels have less space for electrons to flow through.

Hence, it’s not easy to produce power, which becomes inefficient, while monocrystalline solar panels have more space for electrons to flow through; hence, they generate power quickly, which makes them very efficient in powering many devices and things.

Prices

Monocrystalline solar panels are generally more expensive than polycrystalline solar panels.

This is mainly due to how they are manufactured. With monocrystalline solar panels, the single-crystal silicon is solidified.

This solidification process requires a lot of control and time, which can be very tiresome and time-consuming for the manufacturers, which is why they are costly. 

Meanwhile, the polycrystalline solar panels are produced by pouring melted silicon into square molds, and then the wafer is cut into individual cells.

However, you shouldn’t be limited to fixed prices. Other online and offline retail shops can sell you solar panels at affordable prices.

Temperature 

Polycrystalline solar panels tend to be less efficient at lower temperatures. This means that their productivity tends to drop as temperatures increase.

They are said to have an efficiency of 20%, which is too low if you want to light up a huge area for a long. 

This also means that if you’re going to increase the efficiency of the polycrystalline solar panels in your home compound or company, you will have to install many polycrystalline solar panels to achieve the required level of efficiency, which can be pretty costly.

Meanwhile, monocrystalline solar panels tend to have a higher temperature efficiency due to their ample space, allowing more electrons to pass through.

This means that they do not lose their power and productivity quickly. They are said to have an efficiency of 23%, higher than other solar panels. Hence, you do not need to install many monocrystalline solar panels in your home.

Lifespan

Due to their temperature efficiency and function, monocrystalline solar panels have a longer lifespan than polycrystalline solar panels.

Monocrystalline solar panels tend to be very efficient in lighting due to the extensive area for the electrons to flow.

They are also more tolerant to higher temperatures than polycrystalline solar panels, which makes them very long-lived.

Polycrystalline is known to have a shorter lifespan since it is not good at tolerating very high temperatures. This makes them less efficient in light production.

It is also said that during the winter season when there is snow, the polycrystalline solar panels are so bad at preserving and absorbing the slight heat from the sun that they do not light at all.

Aesthetics

Monocrystalline solar panels are more attractive than polycrystalline solar panels because they tend to be black, matching most houses’ roofing.

In contrast, polycrystalline solar panels are blue, making them a bit difficult to reach with most buildings’ roofs.

Ecological footprint

Solar panels are made from silicon, in which silica is the raw material extracted from the earth’s surface.

The removed material is then refined, crystalized into ingots, and cut into strips that are well-known as wafers in solar panels. This extraction of raw material causes environmental destruction.

It is said that monocrystalline solar panel manufacturing has a larger ecological footprint than polycrystalline solar panel manufacturing.

However, ecological destruction is not bigger or smaller than other environmental destruction. Both negatively impact the environment.

The bulkiness 

Monocrystalline solar panels are made of just one silicon crystal, making their structure less bulky than polycrystalline solar panels, which are made with multiple silicon crystals.

However, their structure is bulkier when carrying and transporting them from one place to another.

Mono Vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels: Which one is better?

Cost

Polycrystalline solar panels are much better than monocrystalline solar panels since they are cheaper to acquire than monocrystalline.

This is mainly attributed to the fact that the cost of monocrystalline is relatively high, so many people might be unable to afford them.

Hence retailers especially stock their shops with polycrystalline than monocrystalline solar panels.

Efficiency

Monocrystalline solar panels are far better than polycrystalline solar panels because they have higher efficiency and can tolerate high heat.

So it means that, even though the price of monocrystalline is high, you will still have an excellent solar panel that operates exceptionally well.

You can be assured that whatever the weather, the solar panel will still work without failing.

Lifespan

The monocrystalline solar panel is better than a polycrystalline solar panel because they naturally have a longer lifespan than the polycrystalline solar panel.

This means that monocrystalline solar panels can last more than 25 years without requiring any fixing or repair, unlike polycrystalline solar panels.

Lightweight

Monocrystalline solar panels are better than polycrystalline solar panels because they are manufactured with single silicon crystals, which makes them, to be lighter to carry and fix than the polycrystalline solar panels which are made from multiple silicon crystals, thus making them bulky to handle transport.

Heat absorption

Polycrystalline is way better than monocrystalline solar panels because they have less heat absorption; hence, it becomes difficult for the cells to get damaged due to the sun’s intense heat.

Individual preferences

Many people naturally prefer polycrystalline solar panels to monocrystalline solar panels for their homes due to their color shade.

It is far better to get yourself a polycrystalline solar panel because it can match your building more easily than if you have a monocrystalline solar panel. 

The monocrystalline solar panel mostly have a dark shade which may make the house or area a bit dull in color.

Space

When it comes to the size of your roof or the space available for fitting your solar panel, it is far much better to buy a monocrystalline over a polycrystalline due to its high efficiency.

This is mainly because the monocrystalline solar panels absorb more electrons and sunlight quite faster, thus producing power more quickly.

This means that you are assured that even though you have just one monocrystalline solar panel, your house will be well-lit than if you purchase a couple of polycrystalline solar panels.

Amount of snow and dust

Experts say that monocrystalline are more susceptible to breakage if a lot of dust or snow settles on them.

This means that the solar panel will become shaded and unable to absorb the sun’s heat properly.

It is worth noting that this is very different from polycrystalline solar panels since they are more resilient to such harsh weather conditions.

If you really want to have a monocrystalline solar panel at your home, it would be best if you invested in a micro-inverter to help solve the problem.

Climate

The climatic conditions of your place should also help you decide which solar panel to install in your home.

If you live in dusty and snowy weather climate areas, as discussed earlier, it would be best if you used a polycrystalline solar panel for your home.

This is because the adverse climate of snowy weather can damage the monocrystalline solar panels of your homestead.

Although this might happen, the effects on the solar panel might just be minor and not adverse.

FAQ: Mono Vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Which solar panels are best for home use?

Polycrystalline solar panels are best for home use since they are cheap to acquire from any manufacturer or hardware shop that sells solar panels.

Plus, because homes are more prone to dust and snow during the winter season, polycrystalline is best since, even with the snowy weather, they will not shade.

This helps them become more efficient even during harsh weather conditions since they can still function as required.

Can you mix different solar panels in your compound?

It all depends on your house type and the amount of space in your compound. If you have a huge space on your rooftop and want to save as much money as possible, you can buy two to three polycrystalline solar panels since they will be pocket-friendly for you and more beneficial in case of adverse weather conditions. 

You can also mix the polycrystalline solar panels with monocrystalline solar panels since the monocrystalline solar panels are good at absorbing the sun’s heat.

Hence you are assured that there will be higher efficiency of power production in whichever season you might be. Also, mixing the different solar panels might improve the area’s aesthetics.

Can the monocrystalline cells get damaged by adverse heat conditions from the sun?

As much as monocrystalline solar panels have a good temperature coefficient, they can also get damaged due to the sun’s extreme heat.

Monocrystalline solar panels are made from a single silicon crystal, which means they have a vast surface area to absorb sunlight and convert it into power.

If the cells absorb too much heat from the sun, the cells might get damaged in the long run.

Thus the solar panel might get damaged entirely with time. Therefore, you must purchase your solar panel from a trusted manufacturer to avoid this situation from happening.

Are solar panels a better power alternative?

Solar panels such as monocrystalline and polycrystalline are better alternatives since they do almost the same things as normal electricity power.

Plus, they can be fitted in every household, and they naturally use the sun’s heat to produce energy. With high electric power failure from energy producers, solar panels can be a better alternative.

solar panels

Key Take away: Mono Vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Solar panels are taking over the energy world. With the many technological advancements, solar panels will be seen in many homesteads and businesses due to their natural way of using sunlight as their energy source, and they do not cost much.

It is much better to purchase polycrystalline solar panels than monocrystalline solar panels due to their many benefits.

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