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Monocrystalline Solar Panels vs Polycrystalline: Which is Better?

Many of us at this point have come across Ads on Facebook from companies selling panels. With many solar brands on the market, from Canadian, to Jinko, to JA, and other lesser known brands sellers are quick to point out if their panels are Monos. The idea of Mono panels as superior panels has gained popularity in the solar market, but what exactly are you buying when you are buying Monos? Should you spend more on them? And last do you even need them? Continue reading to find out.

A little bit about solar panels

Solar panels use solar cells (also known as photovoltaic cells) to capture solar energy and convert it into electricity. Solar cells are composed of raw silicon wafers shaped into a uniform size. There are multiple types of solar panels, and each kind performs the same function, which comes down to capturing solar energy and converting it into electricity. The real difference is the composition of the technology used to perform that function: the type of silicon in the solar cell.

Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells

Monocrystalline solar panels are a pure type of solar panel made from monocrystalline silicon. This means they are made from one type of silicon, which gives them the characteristic uniform dark appearance with rounded edges that make them easily recognizable. Because Monocrystalline panels are made from crystals with high purity, they have a higher conversion efficiency than polycrystalline panels, which means for the same panel size, a mono panel will produce more energy.

Polycrystalline Silicon Solar Cells

Polycrystalline solar panels are made from multiple silicon crystal fragments that are melded together during manufacturing. Polycrystalline solar panels have blue-hued PV cells with straight edges. They have a lower efficiency compared with monocrystalline cells, which means you need more panels to reach the same power output. However, polycrystalline panels also have a lower price since their manufacturing process is simpler. 

Monocrystalline Vs. Polycrystalline Solar Panels: Key Differences

Silicone Arrangement One pure silicon crystal Many silicon fragments melded together
Cost More expensive. They require pure uniform silicon which makes them more expensive. Take a look at the price of Canadian Solar monos in Zimbabwe for example. Less expensive. The manufacturing process is much easier and less wasteful, as it utilizes smaller bits of silicon. This makes them less expensive. At Infinity shop our poly panels start from $130
Appearance Many people find their uniformity and black colour more aesthetically pleasing than the blue colour and sometimes variegated pattern of the polycrystalline panels.   Polycrystalline panels then to be less aesthetically pleasing since they have a non-uniform look and sometimes a speckled blue colour.  
Efficiency More efficient. Produce more power per square meter and are therefore very space-efficient. They also perform better in low-light conditions   Less efficient. For the same panel size, you need more of them. Not as productive in low light conditions. However large wattage poly panels like the Jinko Cheetah are equally effiecient.
Lifespan 25-40 years 20-35 years

Can You Mix Poly and Mono Solar Panels?

Mixing solar panels is possible but not typically recommended due to the different electrical characteristics of the panels. Also if you really need to mix then try to mix panels of similar wattage for example 330W solar panels should go with 345W solar panels or 300W solar panels. Don’t try to put a 330W solar panel with let’s say a 400W solar panel. If you have a circumstance in which mixing panels is something you’d wish to pursue, it’s best to consult with our Infinity Solar professional technicians.

So which type should you get?

If you’re hung up on the differences between mono and poly solar panels, you can relax. Our verdict is that whatever panel, whether mono or poly will deliver long-lasting benefits to your finances and the environment. For those short on space but seeking to produce a lot of power then monos might be ideal. Otherwise for the average household with small systems (12 panels or less) and amble roof space, you are better off with higher wattage poly panels than low wattage mono panels.

Whatever solar system you need, contact us learn more about the types of solar panels we carry!