With rising levels of carbon footprints around the world, there is a huge demand for sustainable energy as we try to reduce the number of carbon emissions being produced by people around the world.
Although electricity is easily the most popular type of energy in the world, there is now a need for making sure that the world stays as healthy as possible.
Solar panels harness energy from the sun and turn that energy into fuel for us to use, like with electricity.
There are lots of different types of solar panels seen throughout the world of energy usage and we’re here to look at two different forms.
Polycrystalline or monocrystalline, which is better? Let’s find out!
Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells
These are black solar panels and are seen frequently in people’s homes and properties. Because of their black color, this is a sign of their high purity.
- These panels have a high-efficiency rate so they give out more energy per square foot, which makes them space-efficient for those with little room to work with.
- Monocrystalline is amongst the highest efficiency rates in the world, with around 15-20%.
- This particular form of solar energy performs very well in warm conditions. Usually, the performances of solar panels will suffer as temperatures soar, but this is rarely the case with monocrystalline.
- These panels have one of the longest lifespans you’ll find, and will usually have a warranty of around 25 years, however, they have been known to last much longer!
- Monocrystalline panels tend to perform to a higher standard than polycrystalline solar panels in low-light environments.
- The black color of these models is usually well-sought after and is more aesthetically desirable to some than polycrystalline blue panels.
- These panels cost more than polycrystalline panels, which can often affect people’s decisions to buy them.
Polycrystalline Silicon Solar Cells
As we previously mentioned, these panels come in blue color and were first seen on the market in the early 1980s. They usually have a variegated pattern.
- Because of the differences in the creation process, these panels are a lot cheaper and simpler to make than monocrystalline panels.
- As we briefly mentioned earlier, monocrystalline panels usually perform around the range of 15-20% efficiency levels. Polycrystalline panels range between 13 and 16%.
- The previous point makes these less space-efficient than monocrystalline solar panels per square foot.
- Polycrystalline panels usually have a lower tolerance to heat than their counterpart and perform narrowly worse than monocrystalline in higher temperatures.
- Although heat is usually only thought to affect performance, it can also significantly lower their lifespan.
- Low light conditions also affect these panels greatly and lower their efficiency.
- Because of their blue color, polycrystalline panels are less aesthetically pleasing for many people, compared to the monocrystalline panels and their black appearance.
For a fair comparison, we’ll do our best to make sure that the comparison is as even as possible.
- SolarWorld SunModule 285W (monocrystalline) = $249 per panel.
- SolarWorld SunModule 260W (polycrystalline) = $196 per panel,
Multiplying $196 by 258W and dividing by 260W results in an adjusted cost difference of $215 per panel for polycrystalline panels, whereas monocrystalline panels result in $249 per panel.
For an average 2000 SF house that consumes 75000 kWh annually, 18 monocrystalline panels would cost $612 more than lower lifespan, less-efficient polycrystalline panels.
Warranty And Efficiency Rates
In most cases, solar panels on the market today come with a 25-year warranty (performance guarantee).
This typically means that the panels will produce electrical power for 10 years at 90% of rated power and 25 years at 80%.
However, be aware that all performance guarantees are not the same and will vary.
We recommend checking the fine print on all warranties for the panels you’re planning to purchase.
We don’t have all of the information on the performance of these panels 3 or 4 decades in, however, the projection gives an idea of how they would react that late down the line.
Based on purity and other features that we’ve covered, it seems that monocrystalline panels are the better long-term option and will retain their efficiency several decades into their lifespan.
This means that their value for money should retain years after the warranty has expired.
There you have it! These are the main pros and cons of polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels.
As you can see, monocrystalline solar panels are usually the more reliable option, especially over many years.
Because of their color and their space efficiency, these solar panels are usually the more sought-after of the two variations.
However, polycrystalline solar panels are usually the cheaper of the two options and this can often affect someone’s decision on what panels they will be purchasing.
It all comes down to your choice and discretion. Hopefully, we’ve given you the tools to make your own choice!