What Solar Panel Should I Choose?
When it comes to solar energy, you have several kinds of panels from which you can choose yours. In Australia, there are three types of them that are used: Polycrystalline, Monocrystalline, and Amorphous panels, or also thin film. The first two are more popular for homes and business installations. Meanwhile, amorphous ones are more appropriate for portable uses, such as excursions or campings, since they are more flexible and are easier to be installed in small spots like a bag.
But, what’s the difference between the three types of panels?
First of all, the three kinds of panels are made of silicon, the difference lies in the type and quantity of it. Polycrystalline and monocrystalline panels are both made with the same amount, but in these cases the silicon used is crystalline. On the other hand, amorphous panels are also made of silicon but in much smaller quantities.
What about monocrystalline and polycrystalline? Both of them have excellent efficiency levels. However, some aspects and characteristics may change a bit. These are the key differences between a monocrystalline panel and a polycrystalline one:
- The physical aspect and high-temperature performance.
Physical appearance might be the most obvious difference between these two. Mono panels have an almost black-colored and straight surface. Unlike polycrystalline panels, which have a bluish surface as well as the crystal has a rough texture.
About their performance in hot temperatures, the difference between both panels is very subtle. The efficiency level of a monocrystalline panel in a hot environment is about 0,5 – 1% higher than mono panels’ performance. It is fair to say there’s almost no difference.
- How they are made.
Despite there is a minor difference between efficiency levels of these two panels, their processes of production are not the same. For polycrystalline panels manufacturing, multi-crystalline silicon is used, which goes through a melting process to then be placed in small molds and is finally cut into wafers.
On the other hand, mono panels are made with cylindrical silicon ingots (which is the same silicon but before it’s cut into wafers). The main difference when it comes to materials is that the silicon used in monocrystalline panels is purer than the one used for poly panels, and this tiny detail happens to be the reason why mono panels have a slightly higher performance level.
- Price and efficiency.
The efficiency of solar panels means the rate of a panel to produce electricity from the sunlight. And monocrystalline panels are the winners of the contest, being able to achieve 18 – 22% of efficiency level. Meanwhile, polycrystalline panels can only achieve 15 – 17% of efficiency. And this is mainly why their prices vary. Mono panels are a bit more expensive than poly ones, due to the materials they are made with and their higher efficiency range.
Which one should I choose?
It all depends on what are your needs. If you’re looking forward to saving some money, polycrystalline panels are perfect for you! But if money is not an issue if you’re running out of space in your roof you may prefer to go to mono panels. In both cases, quality is assured!
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