Maryland family happy with their solar installation

There are varying types of Solar panels. No two Solar power installations will be exactly the same. Their construction will often differ depending on a number of factors. They may vary in system size, material composition, components, efficiency, and capacity, among other things. There are indeed a whole range of things to consider when determining the best options available on the market.

If you were to order a solar panel today, it would likely be one of two main types: monocrystalline or polycrystalline. These designations refer to the crystal structure of the silicon making up the panel’s conductive surface. How do these two types compare?

Varying types of monocrystalline panels

“Mono” panels constitute a major part of the solar panel market in the United States. This type of panel is generally the most efficient and is therefore the most popular. In 2018 it made up around 90% of the market share.

Monocrystalline solar panels are the oldest in terms of production method. As such, they also have the benefit of having seen the most development. Some manufacturers now use additional layers of silicon further improving efficiency and high-temperature performance. The result is that consumers have a high level of trust in this type of panel. As with all consumer products, premium brands tend to be more expensive, but are the most reliable.

Varying types of Polycrystalline panels

The second group are polycrystalline panels, also known as “multicrystalline” panels or “poly” cells. These varying types use a relatively newer silicon production technology with a number of possible manufacturing processes. Initially there was a considerable gap between monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels in terms of efficiency. In recent years that gap is no longer as large and their levels of efficiency are now much closer.

In order to completely offset the efficiency gap, poly panels still need to cover a larger surface area. However, the production processes are simpler and typically cost less than the monocrystalline production process. Many manufacturers, however, still opt for the monocrystalline panels. This keeps lowering the cost of the mono options, contributing to that panel type’s dominance in terms of market share.

Thin film panels

Once cheaper than the crystalline options, thin film solar panels are rarer these days especially in residential applications because they’re just not that efficient. Companies trying to sell these won’t easily be able to justify the cost to prospective buyers.

These panels use amorphous silicon, sometimes together with semiconductor materials, and are still sometimes found in industrial applications. There have also been efficiency improvements in recent years, but crystalline panels are generally much better.

Regardless of which one you opt for, whether monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels, make sure you take every possible factor into consideration. This includes cost and financing options, system setup, and after-sales support.

Get a free online Solar quote and estimate

You can get a detailed overview from Renewable Energy Corporation, Balimore’s premier solar installation company. They’ll also provide a free quote along with a rundown of the options available depending on your solar energy requirements and home layout. After that, it’s all about choosing the best option that fits your needs and your budget.


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