Monocrystalline & polycrystalline solar panels

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Monocrystalline & polycrystalline solar panels

Postby MichaelB » Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:28 pm

James asks:

What's the difference between a mono-crystalline panel and a polycrystalline solar panel?


The cells of a monocrystalline solar panel are cut from a chunk of silicon that has been grown from a single crystal that grows in only one direction or plane. Monocrystalline solar panels are more efficient in converting the sun's rays to electricity.

Polycrystalline cell material is grown from multifaceted silicon crystalline material. More surface area is required due to inherent flaws in the material and polycrystalline panels are less efficient in converting the sun's rays.

This doesn't mean to say that a polycrystalline (sometimes referred to as multicrystalline) solar panel is of poor quality.

A 120 watt rated monocrystalline solar panel and a 120 watt polycrystalline solar panel are essentially the same thing - they generate the same amount of electricity, but the monocrystalline panel is smaller; so these are best suited to installations where available roof area is an issue.
Michael B.
Energy Matters Forum Team (Please note: I am not a solar tech or installer)

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