Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels


As you begin your research into buying solar panels, you may come across the decision to choose polycrystalline solar panels and monocrystalline solar panels. These are the two major types of solar panels. Breaking down the words, you are able to distinguish the main difference between the two. Mono- meaning one, is a module made up of a single crystal of silicon whereas polycrystalline solar cells are made up of many silicon crystals melted together. Either mono or poly solar panels can be a great choice for your home. Let’s dive into the difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline modules so you can have a more educated decision in your solar buying process. 


Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline modules are typically thought of as a high-end product due to two important advantages: a more sleek aesthetic and a higher efficiency. These efficiencies have a range from 17 percent to 22 percent. A higher efficiency allows for less roof space to be used. If you know you may have limited roof space for solar panels because of shade restrictions or a complex roof, the monocrystalline solar panels might be the best option for you. They tend to be more popular due to the design and aesthetics alone.


In order for solar cells to become monocrystalline solar panels, silicon is melted at 2,500 degrees fahrenheit to form bars that are then cut into wafers. This is called the Czochralski method where these wafers are formed from a singular seed crystal called an ingot. Because these modules are formed from a single crystal, it allows electrons to be able to flow more easily throughout the cell giving them that high efficiency. 


Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline modules are a little less popular due to the idea that they are considered a less premium panel for having a lower efficiency with a marbled blue color and bulkier appearance. They are still an excellent option for people who are working with a tighter budget and can be an economical choice for homes with ample roof space.!


Polycrystalline modules are made by putting large chunks of silicon in a quartz mold that creates a square shape. This mold is then loaded into a furnace at 2,500 degrees fahrenheit, taking 20 hours to melt completely and a whopping 3 days to cool down! These panels are typically blue in color and look almost like granite or particle board in the way there are different specks of color. This occurs from the heating and cooling process where the silicon crystallizes when it cools and hardens. This method is less expensive and also produces less waste than monocrystalline panels.


Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline: Which is best for you?

The main reason anyone goes solar is to save money on their electricity bill, so when deciding between mono or poly solar panels, it’s important to realize that both will get the job done. Rooftop Solar offers options for both so no matter your home or budget, we can help you choose the best option for your home.


The price difference of poly vs mono solar panels has shrunk significantly due to an improvement in technology and manufacturing. The cost is only about $0.05 more per watt for monocrystalline solar panels. As there may be a higher upfront cost to mono vs poly solar panels, your return on investment will likely be longer due to the higher efficiency of the panels, thus producing more energy in the long run.


Monocrystalline modules are also more beneficial when you have constraints on the amount of roof space on your home. More efficiency allows for less panels needed on the roof. Polycrystalline modules are a great option if you have a significant amount of roof space or you are planning on having your system ground mounted. 


We hope this information helps you in making your polycrystalline vs monocrystalline decision easier for you. Rooftop Solar is here to help, so if you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call or click here to get a free solar quote!

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