Understanding The Difference Between Monocrystalline And Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Posted on: 28 March 2017


If you have a cabin and want to supply it with efficient power, then it may be in your best interest to purchase and install a solar panel kit. If you look at these kits, then you may notice that there are a wide variety of different types of solar panels that you can purchase. Two of these panel types have very similar names—monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Keep reading to learn a little about these panels so you can better decide which ones are best for you. 

Monocrystalline Cells

Monocrystalline solar panels are made from silicon. In fact, the vast majority of solar panels are made with silicon as well. Monocrystalline panels are made with geometric panels with four corners cut out of each distinctive solar cell. The panels are relatively small in shape and are arranged over a large panel or base. When the cells are put together, they create a very distinctive shape with small cut-out diamonds all around the wafers. The pattern is quite noticeable and makes the monocrystalline panels easy to recognize. 

The panels are extremely efficient. In fact, they are likely the most efficient solar panels on the market right now. The efficiency is due to the type of silicon that is used. Specifically, the material is of the highest-grade silicon. This also allows the panels to take up less space. Since the panels are so efficient, fewer of them are needed. This is good news when having them installed on your cabin roof or when you pick an outdoor site for the panels. 

Monocrystalline solar panels are also the lightest solar panels available and they also last the longest amount of time. While the panels have a score of benefits, they are the most expensive. The entire solar unit also does not work well in shade, whether partial or full shade is noted. There are some additional parts and pieces that can be added to the panels, like a special type of inverter, to help make them work better in shady environments. However, this does increase the cost of the solar panel system.

Polycrystalline Panels

Polycrystalline solar panels are less distinctive than monocrystalline varieties. The small rectangular shape of the individual cells creates the traditional solar panel pattern that you are likely most familiar with. These types of panels use a fairly old technology that can be tracked back to the '80s. The basic silicon structure of the panels is fairly simple and inexpensive. This means you will not have to spend nearly as much to purchase a full solar kit for your cabin. Also, the panels are solid, unlike the monocrystalline types, so there is less waste. 

You should know that the polycrystalline panels are not nearly as efficient as the monocrystalline varieties. In fact, they may be about half as efficient. This may mean that you will need more of the solar panels if you want all your energy needs to be taken care of with solar energy. If you are worried about weight, then you can easily have the panels placed on racks that sit off your cabin. Thankfully, you do not have to worry as much about shady spaces, because the panels work fairly well in all types of light conditions. 

If you do not like the the options that are available to you when both monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels are considered, then speak with a solar panel expert about other choices that are available. You may have the option of choosing something like thin-film, strong-ribbon, or amorphous silicon varieties. Each of these options have their advantages and disadvantages just like the crystalline varieties, so make sure to speak with the professional about things like efficiency before deciding.