Did you know that there are 6 types of solar panels used for power generation today?
Monocrystalline solar panels, polycrystalline solar panels, thin-film solar panels, bifacial solar panels, concentrator solar panels, and double glass panels make up the bulk of the commercially available solar panels. However, monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels are the most preferred residential solar installations in Durham. So, we’ll focus on them today.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystalline PV cells are made of pure silicon by cutting silicon ingots into thin wafers. This manufacturing process gives them uniform coloring and molecular-level structure. Their form and content allow electrons to move freely through them, substantially increasing their power generation efficiency.
These solar panels are relatively more expensive and can be recognized by their characteristic black-colored cells.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Polycrystalline PV cells are manufactured by directly pouring molten silicon into molds. This process minimizes the wastage of silicon and is therefore highly efficient. These PV cells are made of perfectly square wafers and can be typically identified by their bluish hue.
These PV cells have relatively lower heat tolerance, which means their power generation efficiency decreases faster at higher temperatures. However, they cost significantly less, making them ideal for price-conscious consumers.
Monocrystalline vs. Polycrystalline PV Cells: What Else Matters?
Besides price, there are other ways the two types of PV cells differ. Let’s take a look at the most important of these differences:
We have already discussed the difference in power generation efficiencies of the two types of PV cells at high temperatures. But you should know that monocrystalline PV cells are more efficient than polycrystalline PV cells even at lower temperatures.
Polycrystalline solar panels aren’t built to last. In comparison, monocrystalline solar panels can last longer than 25 years of usage.
- Size and Budget Constraints
Although polycrystalline PV cells cost less, you will need more of these to meet your power needs. Naturally, a polycrystalline solar panel system occupies a larger rooftop area too. So, any price advantage they may have could vanish into thin air in the end. Of course, if your roof area is limited, then monocrystalline solar panels could be your only option.
Almost 90% of all the materials used to manufacture polycrystalline panels can be recycled.
In contrast, the monocrystalline panels are a more complex challenge. Although 100% of the metal used in their making can be recycled, only 95% of the glass that makes them up can be reused. However, only about 85% of the silicon wafers used in them can be recycled.
So, what is your choice going to be – monocrystalline PV cells or polycrystalline PV cells?