If you’re considering installing solar panels, you might want to consider some factors like the costs, performance, etc. Based on what choices you make and how aesthetic you want your space to look, you can pick out solar panels from two options: monocrystalline and polycrystalline/multi-crystalline solar panels. Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know about these panels:
Monocrystalline: The highest efficiency (more than 20%) solar panels and the oldest ones ever developed, monocrystalline solar panels are created out of a single pure silicon crystal through a method called the Czochralski method. As per the Czochralski method, the silicon crystal is placed in molten silicon and pulled out from there carefully to also gives them a black appearance every time light hits the pure silicon crystal. That said back sheets and frames for these cells can be available in a variety of colors. Monocrystalline solar panels consist of about 40-60 silicon cells that are assembled together in rows and columns. They are powerful devices that come with higher wattages and typically with a temperature that’s coefficient around -0.3% / °C to -0.5% / °C – features which also contribute to their high efficiency. Unique features like these also make monocrystalline solar panels the most expensive panels out of the three as well as they have higher manufacturing and installation costs.
Polycrystalline: Unlike monocrystalline solar panels, polycrystalline solar panels are a relatively new development. However, the two do share some similarities. Polycrystalline cells are also made from silicon. The method of adding silicon in their production varies from that of the monocrystalline ones. For polycrystalline cells, the silicon crystal that is placed in a vat of molten silicon isn’t pulled out slowly. Instead, it is allowed to cool down in its mold where it takes the shape of thinly sliced wafers which are later put together to create a panel. This method and lack of a pure silicon cell are what causes polycrystalline to be blue in color as the sunlight reflects on the, as opposed to black. They’re also square in shape and just like monocrystalline cells, they also possess a temperature coefficient of -0.3% / °C to -0.5% / °C. Polycrystalline solar panels come with both lower wattages and lower efficiency than the monocrystalline which ranges between 15 to 17 percent. However, polycrystalline panels are similar in size to monocrystalline panels with about 60 cells each. Larger panels might contain 72 to 96 cells depending on your requirements.