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Mono-crystalline vs Poly-crystalline, which is More effective?

Over the years, solar manufacturers have witnessed a number of new technologies in the industry to make their solar panels better and efficient. Meanwhile, many of us might have gone into the arguments on Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline while evaluating solar panels for Photovoltaic (PV). Isn’t it? If yes, you are at the right place. Here in this blog, we will give you a quick overview of Polycrystalline VS Monocrystalline. 

First, let us evaluate Poly-crystalline?

Polycrystalline silicon, also known as multicrystalline silicon, is high-purity silicon and is used as the main component in the form of solar cells, responsible for generation of electrons, while making solar panels. It is produced from metallurgical grade silicon by the Siemens process, a chemical purification process. Polycrystalline is made of many crystallites of varying size and orientation. It is having a number of grains. They are too small or even microscopic crystals and form during the cooling of many materials. For example, if you consider a single brick (used for construction), it is a single grain or crystal. Later, when many bricks are joined together with cement mortar to build a wall, you can compare the portion between the bricks built using cement mortar to grain boundaries of polycrystalline.

Now let’s make you understand what Mono-crystalline is?

Monocrystalline, also called single crystalline, is the material in which the crystal lattice of the silicon is unbroken and continuous to the corners of the sample with no grain boundaries. It is cylindrical in shape. The silicon which is used to make mono solar cells and hence mono solar panels is having highest purity, better than polycrystalline. The efficiency rate of its solar panel is high and range between 19-22 % . Interestingly, absence of defects associated with grain boundaries gives it unique properties.

Polycrystalline or Monocrystalline solar panels, which is best for rooftop installations?

As a layman it becomes difficult for a person to make a choice while buying a solar panel. Mostly, you will encounter two choices- Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline. So, let’s have some differentiating points of both the solar panels for you to understand in a better way.

Sr No.FeaturePolycrystalline Solar PanelMonocrystalline Solar Panel
1Efficiency Less efficiency 15-18 %High efficiency 19-22 %
2Longevity +25 yearsup to 30 years
3Crystal DesignConsists of many crystalsConsists single crystals
4ColourBluish hue solar cellsBlack hue solar cells 
5PerformanceLess efficiency in bad weatherBetter even in low light
6Cost (per watt)Low Slightly higher than Poly
7Area Takes more spaceTakes less rooftop space

Analysis

Although initially it may look like monocrystalline panels are costly per watt but by going through the table, you must have understood why monocrystalline solar panels are preferred nowadays.

Yes, because it is having the features that are considered better than the other polycrystalline.

  • Performing better even in low light is a key factor of monocrystalline that makes it the first choice of the buyers.
  • Similarly, when you consider the whole project cost, we can save quite a bit as we require less number of panels and hence we need less BOS (Balance of System) items.
  • Mono panels require less space for the same wattage. So we save on space which is a crucial and costly affair for ground mounted projects.
  • Moreover better low light generation and long life give Mono panels an upper hand as well.
  • The degradation rate is a little high in mono panels. But this has been well tackled through latest mono cell manufacturing process improvement techniques. 
  • Mono PERC panels perform slightly better in Hot temperature. Since India bears hot summers, it makes more sense to install Mono PERC panels
  • Operations and Maintenance cost of plants using Mono PERC modules is less

The monocrystalline with the latest technologies of PERC along half cut cells is the latest choice among solar buyers and investors when it comes to buying solar power systems and plants. The mono panels may cost you more than polycrystalline, but it is worth buying because it lasts longer than polycrystalline. So, debate may continue among many but investment on Mono PERC would be worthwhile. 

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