Call (888) 338-0183 or click here for solar pricing


Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline?
Jun01

Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline?

Most solar modules used today are either polycrystalline or monocrystalline, otherwise known as mono and poly. So what is the difference between poly and mono? For the sake of brevity, the difference between the two is that monocrystalline is composed of a single crystal of silicon, while polycrystalline is composed of many crystals.  Generally speaking, mono solar panels are more efficient but poly solar panels are a better use of your money. Monocrystalline Monocrystalline, which is also called mono or single crystalline, is the older of the two technologies and has been around since 1955.  Monocrystalline is still used to manufacture photovoltaic cells today and is arguably the most efficient material available. A monocrystalline solar cell is composed of a single crystal of silicon, a purity that can be identified by a dark, even coloring.  Extensive filtration is required to purify the silicon so it can be used for monocrystalline solar cells.   A single monocrystalline silicon seed crystal is slowly pulled from the high-heat molten silicon.  As it’s drawn upwards, the silicon cools and solidifies as a single ingot.  This cylindrical ingot is then sliced into thin pieces that are then cut into the cell shapes you see on a monocrystalline solar panel. Monocrystalline solar panel panels will typically have higher efficiency rates (15-20%), converting energy particularly well in low-light and lab conditions.  Mono panels will generally have higher nameplate ratings than poly.  Because monocrystalline solar cells usually have higher efficiency, these solar panels will make good use of limited roof space. The biggest draw-back is cost.  Mono solar panels come at a premium so unless you’re particularly limited on roof space, they’re not the best use of your money. Pros: • High efficiency • Good for limited space • Performs well in low-light conditions Cons: • High Cost • Sensitive to soiling and shade • More silicon is wasted in the manufacturing process Polycrystalline Polycrystalline, which is also called poly or multicrystalline, has been used since 1981.  Until recently, polycrystalline solar panels were easily identified by their solar cells that have a textured look resembling a granite countertop or shattered glass.  Most poly solar panels just have a dark blue color now. Polycrystalline cells are composed of multiple silicon crystals, which is a cheaper way to manufacture solar modules.  Polycrystalline cells are commonly made with a cast of molten silicon.  When these cells are being created, they cool faster, creating smaller crystals.  Just remember that poly means many because it has many crystals.  Because poly solar panels are easier to produce, they’re less expensive – making them the ideal choice for most people.   Though monocrystalline is still...

Read More

Solon’s 230W black monocrystalline solar panel

Solon is a well known company in Germany that supplies a lot of solar panels in Europe, the company is well known for it’s dramatic commercials which help people realize how much energy falls to the earth from the sun everyday. Here in the U.S. Solon solar panels are not very common, although recently I have started to see these very popular solar panels in Europe making their appearance in the U.S. market. Personally, i like black monocrystalline solar panels due to their increased efficiencies and improved aesthetics compared to polycrystalline solar panels. The characteristics that makes this solar panel unique is its above average efficiencies combined with high output of 230 watts, yet price competitive compared to other monocrystalline such as Sanyo and SolarWorld solar panels. Check out the spec sheet below, what do you think about Solon solar...

Read More

Three Flavors of Photovoltaic Solar Panels

As we explained in our previous post titled, Solar Arrays Explained a group of solar cells make up a solar panel. Not all solar cells are created equal, in fact there are three major flavors of solar cells that most solar panels that we see on homes and businesses are made from. Solar cells come in the following three flavors, as you can tell from the pictures each solar panel has a unique look: Single-crystal (Monocrystalline) Monocrystalline solar panels produce the most electric power per square meter and are mounted in a rigid frame. Multicrystalline (Polycrystalline) These solar panels are made up of solar cells that are cut from multiple crystals grown together in an ingot. These solar cells are built very strong structurally although are slightly less efficient then Monocrystalline solar cells. Amorphous Silicon (Thin Film) Thin Film solar panels are made through a deposition process or printing photovoltaic material on glass, metal or plastic substrate. Solar Roofing Shingles are made up of Amorphous silicon because the ability to print solar cells right onto the shingles. They are significantly less efficient than Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline solar cells therefore to generate the same power you would need more than double the surface area. Although they cost much less than traditional solar panels. Depending on the substrate the thin film solar cells are printed on they can be very robust and...

Read More