Our customers often ask us about the difference between mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline solar panels – but what really is the difference and is there one which is better than the other?
What is a mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline solar panel?
A simple way to remember the difference between mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline panels is in the prefix – mono and poly. ‘Mono’ denotes one, whereas, ‘poly’ means many. As you can probably guess, monocrystalline cells are made of single crystals and poly-crystalline cells have multiple crystals.
The science behind mono and poly cells:
Did you know there is a structural difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline cells? The silicone substrate used to create the structure within the solar panels determines this difference. Essentially, the generating material in a monocrystalline cell is cut from a single silicon crystal which has been grown to the appropriate size. As the atomic structure of the single crystal is very consistent, this in theory makes mono-crystalline cells (and monocrystalline solar panels) more efficient at producing electrons through the photovoltaic effect comparative to polycrystalline material.
Key facts about monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels:
Mono panels are easily identified by the small ‘dots’ or spaces between the cells, made by the corners of the cell being ‘cut-off’. They’re also made from a single continuous crystal structure.
Mono panels are generally regarded as having the highest efficiency rates as they’re made from the highest grade silicon and are able to convert the most amount of solar energy into electricity. However, it’s important to note that this isn’t always the case. Manufacturing quality can vary greatly between brands, so it’s important to factor this in when deciding which panels (and manufacturer) to choose for your home or business.
Cost of Mono and Poly Panels
Monocrystalline panels are also more expensive to produce and generally come at a higher cost to the consumer. In fact, one of the reasons why poly panels are commonly cheaper than mono panels is because manufacturers used the offcuts and leftovers from mono cells to create poly cells. That said, recent advances in manufacturing techniques have reduced the cost margin between the two types, with some efficient monocrystalline panels now more competitive in $/watt.
In the case where roof space may be limited, it will be important to ensure you have the most efficient panels to maximise your power output. You might choose monocrystalline panels over the polycrystalline ones for this reason.
Which type of panel do you need?
Although there may be various factors to consider when deciding which panels your home needs, it’s important that you do your research. For example, if you reside near the coast, a poly or mono crystalline panel may not be a priority, as salt corrosion resistance could be more relevant. Fundamentally, whether your panels are mono or polycrystalline it really doesn’t matter; it’s more important to maximise your generating capacity.
If you would like more information regarding the best panels for your home or business, our friendly sales consultants can help. Please contact 1300 73 93 55 for more information or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.