what's the difference between poly and mono solar panels

What’s The Difference Between Mono And Poly Solar Panels

If you have been considering what type of solar panels to choose for your home, but are unsure what the differences are between poly and mono solar panels, this blog post is for you.

We will discuss what each type of panel is, what they can do, what their advantages and disadvantages are, as well as provide some helpful information on how to decide which one may be best for your needs!

1. Efficiency

The first thing that differs mono and poly solar panels is their light conversion efficiency due to how they are made.

The polycrystalline solar cells are made by melting silicon sand at high temperature, after which the melted material is poured into a square mold to form what will become the base of each cell.

Mono solar cells, on the other hand, are made by cutting a large silicon wafer into smaller pieces.

The purer the starting material, the better its performance is in converting sunlight into electricity.

As you can imagine, this requires more energy than polycrystalline solar panels because of the steps required to cut down on impurities.

The mono solar panels are more efficient than poly ones, but what does that actually mean in terms of the amount of energy they can produce?

Well, if you were to compare two identical size homes with both using either an 11% or 17% rate on their electricity bills over 12 months (for example), then a mono solar panel system will produce an average of 30% more electricity than a polycrystalline one.

Related article: What Affects The Output Of A Solar Panel

2. Size

Since monocrystalline cells have higher efficiencies than the poly ones, they will produce more energy per square foot, which means that they are smaller in size and can lead to a more compact installation.

The mono solar panels, being smaller in size and weight than poly ones, can have a benefit of easier handling for installation purposes.

For example, the larger cells used to create these types of panels are what make them difficult to carry up ladders or lift onto rooftops.

Another factor to consider is what the space available for the installation of solar panels on your home or business looks like.

If you have more room, then it may not be as much of an issue if poly panels are bigger and take up some extra area.

If there is limited space, on the other hand, you may want to consider what will be most convenient for installation and what will look best aesthetically.

Related article: Do Solar Panels Damage Roof?

3. Appearance

Monocrystalline solarcells are what we call black and blue solar panels (sometimes called “black mono” or “blue mono”).

They have uniform dark color cells with rounded edges that give them a certain “pop” when installed on rooftops or other areas where they can be seen.

Their unique appearance also allows for better heat dissipation, which is what makes them perform better in hot weather conditions.

On the other hand, polycrystalline solar panels are what we call black and silver solar panels (sometimes called “black poly” or “silver poly”) because of their dark gray appearance with a reflective silver backing sheet on top.

You can easily tell them apart from the mono ones from their bluish hue and the absence of rounded edges.

They are more common and what we see on most homes and businesses.

4. Degradation Rate

The rate at which the efficiency of a solar panel decreases over time is what we call degradation.

This process naturally occurs because sunlight causes a chemical reaction within the cells that gradually diminishes their performance overtime, thus reducing overall output and creating other problems such as overheating or electrical hazards.

In general, monocrystalline panels degrade more slowly than poly ones, but what does this mean in terms of the amount of electricity produced over time?

Well, if you were to compare two identical size solar panels with one being mono and another polycrystalline, after 20 years their overall output would be around 12% different.

While it may not seem like much at first glance (and this is what causes many people to ignore it), the difference in electricity production can be very significant over time.

The lower degradation rate also plays a role in the usable lifespan of the solar panel.

After all, what good is a solar panel if it can’t produce enough electricity to meet your needs?

On top of this, mono panels have better performance tolerances than poly ones.

This means that their performance is less affected by changes in temperature, weather conditions, and so on.

This factor alone makes mono panels the top choice for commercial and industrial applications such as residential community solar farms.

Related article: How Do Solar Panels Work Step By Step

5. Cost

Polycrystalline solar panels have lower costs in comparison with monocrystalline ones because less labor is required to produce them.

This is what makes them a more affordable option and widely used in rooftop systems.

In contrast, the cost of up-front investment with mono solar panels is higher than poly ones because there are fewer cells per panel, and the process of removing impurities takes a lot of time and effort, making it more difficult to produce them.

However, what you get in return is a more efficient solar panel that can produce more electricity and last longer.

Related article: How Long Does It Take For Solar Panels To Payback For Themselves?

Last Words

When it comes to what’s the difference between poly and mono solar panels, what you need to consider is what your needs are.

If they’re mostly aesthetic in nature, then either one will work for you as long as they meet certain requirements such as being safe from electrical hazards.

However, if performance matters more than anything else, then monocrystalline panels will probably be the better choice.

Finally, if the cost of the solar panel is what’s holding you back from going green, then polycrystalline panels will be your best option.

In any case, what matters most is that you go for a reputable installer and not just look at price alone when it comes to what kind of solar panel system works best for your home or business.

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