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Difference Between Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline Solar Panels

By November 04 , 2019

Most solar panels use silicon as a base for solar panels. This is mainly due to the nature of silicon. It is a semi-conductor with free electrons which thus produce electricity. Here we will go into the nitty-gritties of the two kinds if solar panels.

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Mono crystalline solar panels are more expensive but slightly more space efficient. MCP is less space. PCP takes more space. But both rated at 220 Watts will produce the same amount of electricity.

Almost 90% of the world’s photovoltaic are based on some variation of silicon. The main difference between silicon based solar panels is the purity of the silicon. What does this mean? The more perfectly aligned silicon molecules are, the better the solar cell will be at converting sunlight into electricity. This is called a photovoltaic effect.

The efficiency of solar panels is connected with purity but the processes used to enhance purity are expensive. Efficiency may not be your primary concern. Cost and space efficiency are the determining factors for most of us.

Mono-crystalline silicon solar cells: Solar cells made from mono-crystalline silicon also called single crystalline silicon are quite easy to recognize because of it’s external even coloring and a uniform look, this is high purity silicon.

M.C.S.E are made of silicon ingots, cylindrical in shape. To optimize their performance and lower the cost of a single MCS cell. 4 sides are cut out of the cylindrical ingots to make silicon wafers which gives their characteristic look.

Ply-crystalline silicon cells on the other hand look perfectly rectangular with the rounded edges.

Advantages of Monocrystalline Solar Panels

  1. Highest efficiency rates as they are made of the highest grade silicon. Efficiency rates of silicon is more or less 15%-20%
  2. They are space efficient. They need minimal space. Since they release highest power outputs, they also require least amount of space compared to other types. MCSP produces up to 4 times the amount of electricity as thin filmed solar panels.
  3. They live also the longest. 25 year warranty is given by manufacturers. The efficiency of individual solar cells is higher than for entire solar panels/modules

Disadvantages of Monocrystalline Solar Panels

  1. These are most expensive. PC and thin film maybe a better choice for many because of this reason especially of you have more space.
  2. If the solar panel is partially covered with shade, dirt or snow the entire circuit can break down. One must get in micro inverters instead of central string inverters. If you think coverage will create problems, micro inverters will make sure that not the entire solar array is affected by shading issues with only one of the solar panels.
  3. The czozhralski process is used to produce MC silicon. It results in large cylindrical ingots. Since the four sides are cut out of the cylindrical ingots to make the silicon wafers a large amount of original silicon ends up as waste.
  4. MCSP are more efficient in warm weather. The performance suffers as temperature goes up. But the PCSP loose more efficiency is warm weather. The temperature is not a concern for most home owners.Poly crystalline silicon solar cells.Poly crystalline silicon also known as poly silicon and multi crystalline were introduced in the market in 1981. This does not need the czozhralski process. Raw silicon is melted and poured into a square module, cooled and cut into perfectly square wafers.
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Advantages of Polycrystalline Solar Panels

  1. Simple process, cost is less, waste silicon is much less.
  2. Have slightly lower heat tolerance than MCS panels. Heat can shorten their lifespans however this effect is minor.

Disadvantages of Polycrystalline Solar Panels

  1. Effeciency of PCP- 13-16% this is because of lower silicon purity. PCP are not quite as efficient MCSP.
  2. Lower space efficiency- Need to cover a large surface to output the same electrical power as MCP. However every MCP may not necessarily be as efficient as a PCP.
  3. MC and thin filmed solar panels tend to be more pleasing asthetically since they have a more uniform look compared to the speckled blue color polycrystalline silicon.
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So this was a short introduction and major differences between MCSP and PCSP. There are many other types of solar panels but here we have enumerated just these two main ones.