Most solar panels you see in homes and businesses can be classified into Monocrystalline (Mono) or Polycrystalline (Poly). Both types use photovoltaic cells (PV) made of crystalline silicon, but the difference lies in how these cells are produced. In a mono solar panel, each cell is made of a single crystal, while a poly solar panel has cells made of multiple crystals.
The easiest way to identify the type of solar panel is by looking at its colour. Monocrystalline panels are characterised by their black PV cells, while polycrystalline panels have blue cells.
However, the differences go beyond just their appearance:
As we live in the Sunburnt country with plenty of rays, both types of solar panel offer an excellent return on investment.
Monocrystalline panels are seen to use roof space more effectively as they convert more sunlight into electricity. However, polycrystalline panels are also viable when space is not a limiting factor.
The exact efficiency of a solar panel will depend on the manufacturer and the specific model. Also, consider that both panel types have improved their efficiency over time. If you compare the latest products from top panel brands from around the globe, Mono solar panels are around 10-20% more efficient than Poly.
Since Polycrystalline panels have a lower conversion efficiency, they might give the impression of being inferior products. However, this is not necessarily the case – you can find quality solar panels of both types in the Clean Energy Council (CEC) list of approved products. For many homeowners, the decision between Mono and Poly solar panels depends on two factors:
If you have plenty of space for a home solar system, and you don’t have a color preference, you can compare your options from a financial standpoint. Mono solar panels are more expensive individually, but both types have similar installation costs. You also need less monocrystalline modules to reach a given capacity (in kilowatts), since each panel has more watts – this compensates their higher price.
You will find that both module types are evenly matched in terms of payback period and ROI. Monocrystalline panels have a better financial performance in some cases, while polycrystalline panels come out on top in other cases.
The exact dimensions of residential solar panels vary depending on the brand and model. However, they are typically 1m wide and 1.7 – 1.8m tall, and this applies for both Mono and Poly modules. In other words, each panel will cover an area of 1.7 – 1.8 square metres.
Since Monocrystalline panels generate more watts with the available sunlight, you will need less of them to reach a certain capacity. To visualise how space requirements vary, assume you’re comparing a 325W poly module and a 360W mono module. Let’s compare the space requirements for the 6.6kW Solar system – a common system size in Australia.
In this example, you save the space required by two solar panels – around 3.6 square metres, roughly the size of two doors. This is not an issue if your roof has plenty of space, but every square metre counts when the available area for solar panels is limited.
With a reliable provider like Arkana Energy, you can expect high performance and consistent savings on your power bills – regardless of the type of solar panel used.
At Arkana Energy, we work with leading CEC-approved brands such as Powerwave, LG, Samsung and Hyundai.