Published on 13 November, 2015
Solar panels are composed of many silicon photovoltaic cells. These cells utilise sun light to make electrons move, and in the process produce electricity.
The two main types of solar panels are Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline. The difference between these types of panels lies in their silicon composition, as we will explain below.
Monocrystalline solar panels
The solar cells in monocrystalline, or mono, panels are composed of a single crystal silicon structure. Low level of defects and a higher purity of the monocrystalline silicon makes the mono panels most efficient when the sun is shining brightly on them.
Mono panels have a blacker colour and the octagonal shape of pure silicon cells leaves no unused spaced, except for the characteristic cut-out corners.
Higher powered than their polycrystalline cousins, the monocrystalline variety are more expensive to produce but also have a slightly higher peak efficiency.
The monocrystalline panel is considered the technologically superior choice in the Australian market, however be prepared to pay a little more for these types of panels. The quality of solar panel manufacturing has drastically increased in recent years, and this has evened the playing field so to speak, with advancements in manufacturing techniques making the polycrystalline panel the most popular choice.
Polycrystalline solar panels
The polycrystalline, or poly, solar panels, more affordable than the monocrystalline panels, are constructed from silicon that is not a perfect crystal.
As a result of this imperfect composition, certain losses are produced and efficiency is slightly affected. However, the misalignment of the silicon composition also allows the poly cells to work slightly better in overcast conditions.
Appearance-wise, there are a few differences albeit very minor. Polycrystalline panels are identifiable by their signature uneven light or dark blue colour that is a result of the aforementioned manufacturing process.
The rectangular blocks of polycrystalline solar panels allow for minimal wastage of space and a more uniform appearance.
There are many factors to consider when deciding what components to use in your solar power system, especially when weighing up the installation cost and your return on investment. For example in a roof setting with a restricted space for solar panels monocrystalline panels might be the best choice as they offer a higher efficiency and could maximise the power capacity of your solar power system, but with a spacious roof polycrystalline panels are often the preferred choice for overall value.
We are here to help!
If you are struggling to choose between poly or mono solar panels, it is best to speak with a solar expert who will examine your requirements and provide you with a tailored solution.
The Sol Distribution team is on hand to assist you with the decision making process, so contact us on 1300 660 483.