Which solar panels are better – monocrystalline or polycrystalline?

Single crystal or polycrystal? Each buyer asks this question before buying. In both cases, the panels for the power plant are made of silicon. Indeed, thanks to the sun, free electrons are formed in this material, which are responsible for the movement of the current. However, despite a similar principle of operation, polycrystalline or monocrystalline solar panels differ significantly in price, as well as in their technical characteristics.

Polycrystalline module

The name suggests that the panel is built from many crystals. In this case, they are not grown, but a simple remelting of already finished silicon takes place with the further formation of the necessary geometric shapes. In the production of polycrystalline panels, monocrystals may even be used, which have proved to be unusable. The plates are fragile, because their thickness is less than 1 mm, so they are glued to a special substrate and then painted. When the panel is formed, the last stage comes – the installation of the frame and reliable sealing. Using substandard monocrystals, polycrystalline batteries are cheaper to manufacture, but their efficiency is lower – at the level of 17-18%.

Monocrystalline module

Panels of this type are manufactured using a complex crystal growth method. The panel is uniform in color and consists of many squares. Color uniformity indicates that high quality silicon has been used in the production. After cutting into thin plates, compact and at the same time powerful structures are obtained. This type of crystal helps to save space and also does not scatter light. The efficiency is high precisely due to the fact that the entire surface of the panel is used efficiently. An important fact is that monocrystalline batteries pay off faster than polycrystalline ones.

Single crystal and polycrystal (the appearance of the former is associated with the features of the silicon lattice)

Serious comparison of consumer-relevant characteristics

It is necessary to seriously study the characteristics of the panels before making a choice, because a lot depends on it: payback, efficiency, durability. The future owner should pay attention to the following parameters:

  • Degradation during operation;
  • Photosensitivity;
  • Temperature coefficient;
  • Price;
  • Total annual productivity.

Crystal degradation

LIDloss potential is a parameter characterizing panel degradation or wear caused by constant exposure to sunlight. To assess this indicator, constant measurements of the power of solar panels are needed over the years. For example, over 25 years, a single crystal has lost only 5% of its power, and a polycrystal 10%.


An important parameter that characterizes the ability of the panel to effectively capture the sun’s rays in cloudy weather and at different angles. The area, where there are many sunny days a year, allows you not to pay much attention to this indicator. If there are few bright days, photosensitivity is a decisive factor. In practice, polycrystalline batteries show themselves well, because they are capable of capturing reflected and direct sunlight equally effectively.

Temperature coefficient

Sunlight heats things up, because that’s how physics works. Solar panels are also susceptible to heat, which in turn can affect how free electrons generate electricity. In cold weather, the surfaces of the panels can heat up to 65 ° C, and on especially hot days, even up to 85 ° C. Large heating significantly reduces efficiency, which naturally leads to a decrease in power. Often, the manufacturer indicates the maximum power at normal temperature, which is 25 ° C. This is the main feature of the temperature coefficient. High-quality monocrystalline panels have a darker color, therefore they heat up more intensely.


Buyers often focus solely on cost, setting aside a small budget for a home power plant. If we consider the issue only in this plane, then polycrystal is a more affordable option. Even comparing the prices of one manufacturer, the difference between a single crystal and a polycrystal will be about 20%.

Total annual output

People arrange solar power plants at home in order to significantly save their budget through utility bills. Therefore, you need to know how much a single battery can generate electrical energy. It will also allow calculating the payback period of the panels. In comparison, polycrystalline batteries can generate 30% more energy per year than polycrystalline ones. This figure depends on the total number of clear days and the quality of the batteries.

What type of solar panels should you choose?

The installation and operation of a home solar power plant is associated with some difficulties and financial costs. However, the advantages are undeniable – savings in the family budget, some energy independence and to what extent care for the environment. Polycrystal and monocrystal have their own advantages and disadvantages, however, in any case, they will help to significantly reduce the figure in the payment for electricity. When choosing the type of solar panels, you need to proceed from the following parameters:

  • Availability of free space;
  • Budget;
  • Personal preferences of a person.

Project budget. Often, the choice of one or another type of solar panels depends on the availability of funds from the consumer, which is not at all surprising. Good news for those who have not yet determined the budget for the future power plant, because the State Duma in 2019 approved the “Law on Microgeneration”. Now each owner of the panels will be able to give their electricity to the grid, receiving a reward from the state for this. If the consumption is greater than its own generation, only the difference will need to be paid. Monthly electricity bills will become more modest, if not even negative, if the home power plant fully covers consumption. Perhaps it is worth revising the project of solar panels – increasing the capacity, choosing more efficient monocrystalline ones.

Personal preference. Some homeowners want the panels to blend perfectly with the exterior of the home. Then you need to take into account that monocrystalline and polycrystalline batteries will look completely different. The first option will be darker, almost black, and the second will be blue. And you also need to get to know the manufacturer well so that it is reliable and proven. The quality of performance and durability of products depends on this.

Free installation space. An important question, because the panels require quite a lot of space for installation, moreover, the place must be suitable. Otherwise, the efficiency will be low, which is unacceptable. When there is practically no free space, a single crystal will be most preferable, because it is compact and powerful. With their help, it will turn out to use the area to the maximum. In addition, a monocrystalline panel will allow you to quickly recoup your investment. When the site allows you to allocate a lot of space for a future power plant, then polycrystal is also well suited. Taking into account the lower costs for the purchase of batteries, this investment will be no less rational.

For alternative energy, the future, which comes today! Thanks to the Microgeneration Law, the issue of purchasing solar panels has become more relevant than ever. After all, you can not only save well, but even earn with proper investments.