There are three main forerunners in the type of Solar Panel market, Polycrystalline, Monocrystalline and Amorphous. Each have their differences, and subsequently their pros and cons. We talk extensively about the pros and cons of Monocrystalline Solar Panels – here.
Monocrystalline silicon is formed with a continuous crystal lattice structure making it highly purified and very efficient at converting solar energy into electrical energy. The process of manufacturing silicon with a singular crystal structure makes it slightly more expensive than Polycrystalline silicon which is formed with many small crystals.
Amorphous uses a thin film layer or Amorphous silicon (a-Si) is the non-crystalline allotropic form of silicon. It can be deposited in thin films at low temperatures onto a variety of substrates, offering some unique capabilities for a variety of electronics. This thin film is driving down the cost of an individual solar panel however, they are also less efficient and the price difference is negated by the fact you need more of them to operate at maximum efficiency. We explain what Amorphous is in more detail – here.
Polycrystalline panels are less expensive to buy
Polycrystalline panels are less expensive to manufacture
As reliable as Monocrystalline
- Less efficient than Monocrystalline Panels
- Appearance is slightly multicoloured due to the use of multiple crystals.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels are amongst the cheapest and most common types of panel out there. Here are a few benefits and downsides of the Polycrystalline panels.
A Polycrytsalline solar panel is made up from multiple crystals, this is often given away by the somewhat mosaic like appearance of the panels. This is because of the different crystals which make up the module. Other types of panels such as Monocrystalline use just the one crystal, hence the term “mono”. Amorphous uses a single piece of thin film material.
Polycrystalline solar panels are less efficient than those made from a single crystal. However, they are much simpler to produce and cost far less to manufacture. Which in turn is passed onto consumers, meaning they are also much cheaper to buy at market. The durability and longevity are however indifferent, and unaffected by difference in crystal formation. Polycrystalline could put solar panels into the hands of consumers that cannot afford the Monocrystalline alternatives.
Polycrystalline modules are fitted in much the same way as any other panel and do not incur extra charges as a result of being of a different crystal composition. At this point we could list a bunch of disadvantages to the consumer by choosing Polycrystalline panels over Monocrystalline, but it would be easier to suggest you read our other post about the advantages and disadvantages of Monocrystalline solar panels ».