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Mono vs Poly Solar Panels

The difference between Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline solar panels


When it comes to solar power, there are two types of panels - monocrystalline solar panels and polycrystalline panels. But what is there to consider when looking at the mono vs poly solar panels? To perfect your solar installation, let's start by looking into how 4WD solar panels are created and then the types of solar panels.


How are solar panels created?


Solar panels (Mono or Poly crystalline) are created from multiple ‘wafers’ of silicon connected together in series and/or parallel, to form a ‘solar module’. These wafers are created from silicon ingots.


These ingots are either block-cast from multiple silicon crystals (poly-crystalline) or grown to form a single crystalline structure (mono-crystalline). The ingots are cut into slices around 180 to 350 micrometers thick to form the wafers.


The ingots are generally made from p-type doped silicon, and n-type silicon is then applied as a surface layer to the wafer. This creates the n-p junction which allows the flow of electrons in the mono and poly panels.


Anti-reflective layers are then applied to the wafer before metallic connections are made in a grid-like pattern on the front side of the panel, and a plate across the full area of the wafer on the back side. These metallic connections are screen printed using a silver paste on the front and an aluminium paste on the back. The wafer is then fried at a few hundred degrees celsius to create contact between the silicon and the metal electrodes. The wafers are now ready to be connected to form the solar module i.e. your mono or poly solar panels. 


Mono vs Poly solar panels: what's the difference?

Poly-crystalline panels


Poly-crystalline panels are created from block-cast silicon crystals as described above.


This creates a metal-flake effect on the panel. See an example of polycrystalline cells below.

Mono vs poly solar panel: a polycrystalline solar panel

Electrons can be trapped in the crystal grain boundaries between the individual crystals in a Poly-crystalline panel. This causes a lower efficiency rating.


The typical efficiency rating for a Poly-crystalline panel is around the 13.5% mark at 25°C, this will drop by around 15 – 25% at 50°C.


Mono-crystalline panels


Mono-crystalline panels are created from a single crystal, either found naturally (very rare) or grown in a laboratory. This process, called recrystallising, makes mono cell panels more expensive to produce.


You can find monocrystalline solar cell panels in a variety of shapes and sizes, including fixed solar panels and portable solar panels.


Looking at mono vs poly solar panels, you can see that Mono-crystalline panels have a smoother more uniform appearance than Poly-crystalline panels. See an example of monocrystalline cells below.

 Mono vs poly solar panel: a monocrystalline solar panel

Mono solar cell panels have a typical efficiency of around 15% at the 25°C mark, which drops at 50°C by around 12 – 15%. So when comparing mono vs poly solar panels, you can see that mono solar panels are more efficient.


Want to know the difference between Amorphous cells vs monocrystalline vs polycrystalline solar panels too? Read our other answered FAQ that delves into solar blankets, amorphous solar power and more about mono vs poly solar panels.