When buying a solar system, most of us get confused at the same point —the type of solar modules to be installed. All types of solar panels produce energy from the sun, but there are some key differences to be aware of. The two most popular names in the solar energy field are monocrystalline and polycrystalline modules.
It’s All About the Solar Cell
All solar cells serve the same function, that of absorbing solar energy and converting it into electricity. Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline modules are made from silicon. Silicon is used in the solar cell because of its abundant availability and the fact that it is highly durable. Many solar panel manufacturers fabricate both monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar modules.
One must understand the major differences between the two technology types before buying a solar system. The main difference between the two is that monocrystalline cells are made up of a single silicon crystal, whereas polycrystalline cells are made up of multiple crystals of silicon melted together.
Monocrystalline Solar Modules
As monocrystalline solar modules are made up of single-crystal silicon, the process of manufacturing them is highly vigilant and expensive, thus making them a premium solar product. Other major advantages of monocrystalline solar modules are higher efficiencies and better aesthetics.
Monocrystalline modules are made from cylindrical ingots from a single crystal of silicon and cut into wafers. These round wafers are then trimmed to make them squarer for efficient assembling of solar cells to form a module. The flow of electrons increases due to single-crystal structure and high purity of silicon thereby increasing the efficiency of the solar modules to a better extent.
Polycrystalline Solar Modules
The efficiency of polycrystalline solar modules is lesser than that of monocrystalline but the cost of modules is also lesser. The polycrystalline modules have a blue hue rather than black, as in the case of monocrystalline panels.
Polycrystalline modules are made from multiple crystals of silicon melted together in a square mould and cut into wafers. Polycrystalline modules are also known as multi-crystalline modules as there are multiple crystals present. Due to the presence of multiple crystals in a wafer, the flow of electrons is reduced. Therefore, polycrystalline panels have lesser efficiency than monocrystalline panels.
Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline Panels: What do you want?
The installation of a solar system saves a good chunk of moolah. Choosing the right type of panel ensures you get a higher return on your investment. The two main factors that count are the financing model and area available.
Financing Model: Depending on the CAPEX or OPEX model, you can choose the type of module. In the OPEX model, you sign a PPA and pay the investor per unit of electricity. This stays regardless of the product used, that is, your payments will determine the savings. While in the case of the CAPEX model, paying more for a higher efficiency module will result in a higher rate of return.
Area available: When you have a limited shadow-free area available on your roof you should go for higher efficiency modules. So, paying extra for more efficient panels will help you reduce your electricity bills drastically. Also, if you have a large area on your roof or are going for a ground-mounted solar system, choosing polycrystalline modules are more economic.
What are the other solar cell technologies?
Though monocrystalline and polycrystalline modules are the most commonly used installations, there are other technologies on the market with lesser complicated installations. One such familiar technology is the thin-film solar cell. The cells are manufactured from different materials such as Amorphous Silicon, Cadmium Telluride (CdTe), and Cadmium Indium Gallium diselenide (CIGS). However, the efficiency of thin-film modules is lesser than that of crystalline modules.
So before you make the final decision of going solar, explore your options with both monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. Join our Safearth marketplace to explore your options and buy your solar system from qualified installers in your area to make the switch easy and hassle-free.