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  Feb 3, 2021   

Monocrystalline Vs. Polycrystalline: Which One’s Best For You?


When we think about installing solar on our rooftop, a couple of basic questions strike our mind related to the product, cost, technology, economic viability, etc. Mostly we do a little bit of homework before consulting with any solar power solution provider. While surfing the internet, it’s very common to get confused about the type of solar PV modules to install. Primarily you will come across two different types of panels; a) Monocrystalline and b) Polycrystalline. When it comes to crystalline silicon-based solar panels, these two are the widely used types that have been used for decades to harness energy from sunlight. Though serving the purpose of generating electricity, both fulfill their obligation, but you should thoroughly understand the key differences between both the panels before making a calculated decision.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels are mostly treated as premium products in today’s market. The solar cells of these panels are made from a single crystal of silicon. To produce these solar cells, silicon is first formed into bars, followed by getting sliced into thin wafers. Since monocrystalline cells are composed of a single crystal of silicon, the electrons-hole recombination inside the semiconductor material takes place more efficiently than polycrystalline solar cells, resulting in higher efficiency (18%-23%) compared to polycrystalline solar panels. These panels are black, aesthetic wise, and uniformity wise pretty decent. The price of monocrystalline panels is slightly higher than polycrystalline panels; however, the price difference between both is reducing gradually in India. Increased efficiency in monocrystalline panels allows the production of more electricity per square foot. These panels mostly come with a nameplate capacity of 370Wp-380Wp or more than that, which maximizes system capacity where rooftop area is a constraint. Besides, monocrystalline solar panels have good heat tolerance capability than polycrystalline solar panels (up to a certain temperature, beyond that performance goes down).

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

The technology used to produce polycrystalline solar panels is the most conventional and prevalent technology used in the solar industry. These panels are also made from crystalline silicon. However, the solar cells are made from fragmented silicon wafers instead of using a single crystal of silicon. They are also named after multi-crystalline solar panels. Because many silicon crystals exist in a fragmented manner, the flow of electrons inside the semiconductor material is restricted up to a certain level. This is the prime reason behind less efficiency rating (15%-18%) compared to mono-crystalline panels. These panels are mostly bluish, and in terms of price, these are way more economical than monocrystalline panels. On the other hand, since they produce less energy per square foot area, in establishments where the rooftop area is a constraint, demand cannot be met by these solar panels. Polycrystalline solar panels have lower heat tolerance than monocrystalline solar panels; hence they perform better only at moderate temperatures. If we talk about aesthetic appearance, polycrystalline solar panels will be rated lesser than monocrystalline solar panels because of their non-uniform look.

ParametersMonocrystalline Solar PanelsPolycrystalline Solar Panels
Panel CostHighModerate
Efficiency HighModerate
Temperature CoefficientHighLow
AppearanceBlackish Bluish
Power OutputHigh, up to 540 WattsLow, up to 340 Watts (mostly), however, a few OEMs are manufacturing high wattage Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Rooftop SpaceOccupies less area to achieve a certain capacityOccupies more area to achieve a certain capacity compared to monocrystalline panels

Being a customer, what is right for you?

Decreasing your monthly utility bills, reducing carbon footprint by adopting renewable sources of energy, saving the environment from global warming, and reducing dependency on the national power grid-these are the various parameters that may drive us to ponder over installing a solar system on the rooftop. Irrespective of the type of solar panels you install, the points mentioned above standstill. Therefore, when it comes to deciding between mono vs. poly solar panels, it more or less narrows down to your;

  • Individual Preference- Whether the color and aesthetics of your rooftop solar system matter to you.
  • Expenditure- How much you are planning to spend/ invest in your rooftop solar system. As stated above, using polycrystalline solar panels, you can easily install the system at a reduced cost. However, you will still enjoy the perks of going solar.
  • Space Limitation- Whether your rooftop area allows you to go ahead installing polycrystalline solar panels. If not, you need to install monocrystalline solar panels to maximize system capacity in a limited square foot area.
  • Climate- As discussed earlier, monocrystalline solar panels are more effective in tolerating heat than polycrystalline solar panels. Hence if you are residing somewhere like Rajasthan, where most of the time in a year the climate is hot, polycrystalline solar panels might come with a reduced lifespan.
  • Solar Financing- The type of financing you are arranging for your rooftop solar system is through CAPEX or RESCO. In the case of CAPEX investment, installing monocrystalline solar panels will give you high returns on investment as no. of units generated will be more compared to polycrystalline panels because of their high efficiency. On the other hand, you will have to pay the developer for the no. of units you generate from your rooftop solar system. Hence, your saving will be a function of your monthly payouts to the developer.

I hope the above article was informative enough to help you choose the type of panel as and when you decide to install a rooftop solar system. If you are ready to begin your solar power journey visit SunEdison for a FREE QUOTE on your solar requirements. SunEdison is a leading solar system supplier in India and the best place to buy your rooftop solar panels installation for your residential properties. 

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