Have you found yourself drowning in expensive utility bills? Are you concerned about the environment and looking for an alternate energy source? Maybe you’ve been considering switching to solar energy, but aren’t quite sure where to begin.
When choosing to switch to solar energy, there are a seemingly endless number of options. This is especially true when it comes to the type of solar panels you should install. There are two main types of solar panels you should consider: monocrystalline vs polycrystalline.
Let this article be your guide in determining the differences between monocrystalline vs polycrystalline solar panels. This article will help you make an informed decision, as well as a quick and easy switch to solar.
Why Go Solar?
Before you even consider the differences between monocrystalline vs polycrystalline, you’ll need to decide why you should switch to solar at all. Switching to solar-powered energy can come with some pretty major benefits for almost any homeowner.
To begin with, solar-powered energy can save you tons of money. Solar energy is a cost-effective way to power your home. In fact, once you’ve paid the installation fees, you’re pretty much going to be getting free energy.
Speaking of installation costs, there are plenty of ways to install your solar panels without breaking the bank. Solar panel installation can come with great tax benefits and rebates. That’s money in your pocket, simply for switching.
Additionally, your easy-to-install solar panels will provide you with clean energy. And even better, you won’t lose any power in the process. That’s good news for the environment and good news for your family.
So, now that you’re ready to switch, how do you decide which type of solar panels is right for you? Let’s break it down.
Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline – What’s the Difference?
Solar panel manufacturers are always trying to create the most efficient technology possible. This means there are some different panel types to consider. The biggest difference between monocrystalline vs polycrystalline solar panels is how they are constructed.
Solar panels are made of multiple solar cells. These solar cells are traditionally made from silicon, which is a conductive material. Panel manufacturers will shape silicon wafers into uniformly-sized solar cells, providing you with energy.
These solar cells come in two types. Manufacturers cut monocrystalline cells from a single silicon source. Manufacturers cut polycrystalline cells, on the other hand, from multiple silicon sources.
Each of these come with their own benefits. The right choice will depend on your particular needs. Let’s break down each type.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
As previously mentioned, manufacturers cut monocrystalline solar panels from a single piece of silicon. This means the composition of these cells is purer. This results in a more efficient conductive panel.
When the solar cells are more efficient, that comes with some added benefits. Most notably, these types of panels will work better in high heat or low light environments. This means if conditions are less than ideal, the panels will still produce a stellar energy output.
However, there are some drawbacks to consider. Monocrystalline panels are more expensive to the buyer (you). This is because they cost more to produce than a polycrystalline cell.
Additionally, monocrystalline cells produce more waste than their poly counterparts. This is because the silicon source is cut into uniform solar cells. All the excess silicon from the source is then discarded, resulting in more waste.
One final consideration is that monocrystalline panels typically have a more uniform appearance. Because they’re cut from one source, they look cleaner than polycrystalline panels. Of course, this is a minor consideration and a matter of personal preference.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Unlike monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline solar panels are constructed out of multiple silicon sources. Manufacturers take smaller pieces of silicon and mold them together to form these types of cells.
Hardly any silicon waste is generated in the process of making polycrystalline cells. This makes for a more environmentally-friendly solar cell option. If reducing your footprint is a key consideration for you, polycrystalline panels might be the better choice.
Due to the combination of silicon sources, polycrystalline cells are less pure. This means they are less efficient energy conductors. However, they’re much cheaper for the average homeowner to install.
The appearance of these types of cells is affected by the manufacturing process. The combination of silicon sources gives them a nice blue color, but the surface could appear splotchy. Again, this is a matter of personal preference.
How Do They Compare?
The decision between monocrystalline vs polycrystalline can be a big one to make. There are several considerations likely floating through your mind. Let’s break them down by a few key metrics.
The initial cost of installation is a huge factor in decision-making. Monocrystalline panels are more expensive than polycrystalline panels. But, this also depends on the investment you’ll be making.
There are several ways to finance your solar panels. The financing option you choose could be a major determining factor for which panel you should invest in.
For example, suppose you’re financing your panels through a Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA). This means you’ll be paying per kilowatt/hour for how much energy your system produces. So, the more energy you produce, the more you pay.
In this case, your ultimate savings would be better if you invested in a polycrystalline system. Your system will produce less energy, though still enough for your needs. But, you’ll ultimately be paying less per month.
On the other hand, suppose you’re investing in your own solar panel system. In this case, the more energy you produce the more return on investment you’ll generate. In this case, monocrystalline solar panels might be a better option for you.
Monocrystalline panels are more efficient than polycrystalline panels. This is due to the purity of their silicon cells. This might be an important consideration if you are dealing with space constraints.
The less space you have, the fewer solar panels you’ll be able to install. If this is the case, you might want to consider monocrystalline panels. This way, you’ll be able to generate an optimum amount of energy with fewer panels.
On the other hand, suppose you have plenty of roof or ground space for installation. In this case, installing more polycrystalline panels might be a more economical option. Ultimately, the decision depends on your energy needs and available installation space.
The actual appearance of your solar panels may seem like a small consideration. But, it can still be important. After all, these panels will be adorning your home, and in many cases, will become part of your home.
If the color of your panels is important to you, keep in mind that monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels appear differently. Monocrystalline solar panels typically have a black hue to them. Polycrystalline panels, on the other hand, have a bluish hue to them.
In addition, monocrystalline can have a bit of a cleaner appearance to them. Polycrystalline cells sometimes have a more splotchy appearance. However, it is hard to see this surface appearance from a distance.
Luckily, longevity isn’t much of a consideration for either type of solar panel. Because solar panels require little upkeep, they are made to be long-lasting. Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels can last you upwards of 25 years.
The Panel Installation Process
Know that you know the differences, you’ll be able to decide which one is right for you. However, you may still be a bit confused about the actual panel installation process. Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels are installed with the same process.
Not every installation process is the same. There are different timetables and certain steps that may need to be taken. However, these are the general steps we follow.
Any solar panel installation begins with a consultation. In the consultation, we’ll learn what exactly you’re looking for from your solar panels. We’ll also go through the financial expenditures and savings you can expect.
2. Site Survey and Design
After your consultation, it’s time for a site survey. Our team will head to your house and survey the property, as well as your energy needs. After that, we’ll get to designing you the perfect solar energy system.
3. Design Review
Once our team has drawn up the design, we’ll review it with you. This ensures you have no surprises when it comes time for installation. It also ensures you get exactly what you want and need.
Once you’ve approved your design, we’ll still have to get some other approvals. These include approvals from your local jurisdiction, HOA, and any other building permits needed.
Finally, we’ll install your system. Usually, this only takes a day or two. After that, you won’t have to go through the process for another 35-45 years.
After that, all that’s left to do is turn on your system and get your energy pumping. They will have to pass some local inspections first, which can take some time. But after that, you’ll have clean, cheap energy for life.
Clean Energy and You!
Now that you know the difference between monocrystalline vs polycrystalline panels, you’re ready for installation. Schedule a consultation today to begin your journey to cheap, clean energy today!