Mono and polycrystalline panels – which ones to choose?

Dodane przez: admin March 16, 2022

Knowledge about the general principle of operation of photovoltaic modules is very common nowadays, however, the knowledge of the differences in the specificity of construction between their variants is rather rare. In this article, we will try to shed some light on this issue, pointing to the most important advantages and disadvantages of the two main types of PV panels in our home market, as well as answering the frequently asked question among investors – mono- or poly – what is better in Polish conditions climate? We encourage you to read it.

Polycrystalline modules and monocrystalline panels – performance characteristics

Before we proceed to the assessment of whether monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels will be a better solution for a new investor, it is worth mentioning briefly about the element necessary for the generation of electricity in PV modules. Of course, we are talking about photovoltaic cells.

In short, looking at the issue through the prism of the title of this post, it should be mentioned first of all that each PV module consists of a specific number of cells, key in the context of obtaining electricity. Most often – depending on the technology used – there will be 60 or 120 of them in a single panel. At the same time, in the vast majority of cases, the semiconductor used in the cell is silicon, which can take the structure of a single large single crystal or many small crystals connected to each other.

As you can probably already guess, this is where the names of the two most common variants of devices that allow you to obtain energy from the sun on the Polish market are derived, which are polycrystalline modules and monocrystalline panels. The characteristics of both of these solutions, presented later in the article, will make it possible to understand that this seemingly small design difference translates into considerable discrepancies in terms of their technical parameters.

The most important advantages and disadvantages of monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels – at a glance

Since we have already explained what, from the perspective of the specificity of the construction, the difference between the described devices, let’s move on to the description of the real consequences that this difference has on both variants of the device, presenting the key advantages and the most important disadvantages of monocrystalline panels and their polycrystalline counterparts. When it comes to the first of the options mentioned, the following are definitely worth mentioning:

  • high durability,
  • optimal coefficient of resistance to high temperature ranges,
  • high efficiency of monocrystalline panels,
  • relatively small area – thanks to the aforementioned high efficiency, the investor needs a smaller installation to supply a specific object than it would be in the case of polycrystalline panels characterized by worse work efficiency,
  • better aesthetic values,

while among the disadvantages:

  • relatively high production costs translating into a higher price on the client’s side,
  • the risk of failure in the event of heavy contamination, although this problem can be dealt with by using microinverters or power optimizers.

After presenting the advantages and weaknesses of monocrystalline panels, the characteristics of the second variant will be slightly shorter. Comparing the features of monocrystalline modules with the properties of their polycrystalline counterparts, one can confidently formulate a thesis that all the advantages of the first of these solutions will be at the same time a disadvantage of the second and vice versa. Therefore, based on this assumption – compared to monocrystalline panels, poly panels are a bit less durable, less efficient, a bit uglier, they are less able to withstand high temperatures and occupy a larger area. In return, however, they offer a lower price, as well as a lower risk of failure in the event of heavy contamination.

Performance of monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels

In the previous paragraph, we mentioned that the efficiency of monocrystalline panels is greater than that of polycrystalline module. However, since this is one of the most important factors related to an investment in PV installations, it is worth extending this information with specific data.

The efficiency superiority of monocrystalline panels over polycrystalline ones is mainly hidden in two aspects. The first one concerns the efficiency, which in the case of mono modules is usually from 18 to 22%, while the best polycrystalline variants usually reach a maximum of 18% in this range. The second issue is the power of a single panel, which for the mono-type is 300-360 W, and for the polycrystalline type it ranges from 270 to 285 W.

Mono- or poly, what’s better in Polish climatic conditions?

People interested in investing in PV systems very often turn their attention to the issue of adapting a specific type of photovoltaic panels to our native climate. In practice, however, in the conditions prevailing in the central part of Europe, both mono- and polycrystalline modules will work well, although in exceptionally warm months the former will have a slight advantage in this regard.

The question – mono- or poly, which is better in Polish climatic conditions – should therefore not be a decisive factor between the choice of one of these solutions, although of course it is worth asking before starting the target cooperation with a given company.

Monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels – summary

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of monocrystalline panels and their polycrystalline counterparts, you can answer the question posed in the title of the article – choose monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels?

As always, it all depends on individual factors, but generally, we recommend the first of these variants. It is more efficient and durable, and at the same time more aesthetic and smaller in area. Polycrystalline modules are worth considering primarily in two cases – if we plan to invest in a photovoltaic farm, so we are interested in minimizing costs, or if we have a large roof area and the size and aesthetics of the installation are a secondary issue for us.