Which Solar Panel Type is Best? Mono- vs. Polycrystalline vs. Thin Film

 

You are thinking about buying solar panels, but got confused about which type to go for? You’re at the right place. There’s a myriad of variables that you should take into account when you are buying a solar photovoltaic (PV) system – our job here at Energy Informative is to help you sort through them!

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the different types of solar panels for home use (mono-, polycrystalline and thin film).

Let’s start with the different types of solar panels currently on the market, list their benefits and downsides, and then look at a few typical scenarios where certain types would be the better than others (hopefully one of them resonates with you).

 

The term solar panels will be used to describe photovoltaic solar panels (the type that generates electricity), not solar thermal collectors.

Crystalline Silicon (c-Si)

Almost 90% of the World’s photovoltaics today are based on some variation of silicon.[1] In 2011, about 95% of all shipments by U.S. manufacturers to the residential sector were crystalline silicon solar panels.[2]

The silicon used in PV takes many forms. The main difference is the purity of the silicon. 

But what does silicon purity really mean? The more perfectly aligned the silicon molecules are, the better the solar cell will be at converting solar energy (sunlight) into electricity (the photoelectric effect).

The efficiency of solar panels goes hand in hand with purity, but the processes used to enhance the purity of silicon are expensive. Efficiency should not be your primary concern. As you will later discover, cost-and space-efficiency are the determining factors for most people.

Compare Solar Panels is the most comprehensive and up-to-date solar panel comparison service on the Internet. Compare the specifications of 10,000+ solar modules. Solar Cell Comparison Chart provides a quick overview over the different cell types, their benefits and how they compare against each other.

Crystalline silicon forms the basis of mono- and polycrystalline silicon solar cells:

 

Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells

Solar cells made of monocrystalline silicon (mono-Si), also called single-crystalline silicon (single-crystal-Si), are quite easily recognizable by an external even coloring and uniform look, indicating high-purity silicon, as you can see on the picture below:

Monocrystalline solar panels


 

Monocrystalline solar cells are made out of silicon ingots, which are cylindrical in shape. To optimize performance and lower costs of a single monocrystalline solar cell, four sides are cut out of the cylindrical ingots to make silicon wafers, which is what gives monocrystalline solar panels their characteristic look.

A good way to separate mono- and polycrystalline solar panels is that polycrystalline solar cells look perfectly rectangular with no rounded edges.

 

Advantages

  • Monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency rates since they are made out of the highest-grade silicon. The efficiency rates of monocrystalline solar panels are typically 15-20%. SunPower produces the highest efficiency solar panels on the U.S. market today. Their E20 series provide panel conversion efficiencies of up to 20.1%.[3] Update (April, 2013): SunPower has now released the X-series at a record-breaking efficiency of 21.5%. [7]
  • Monocrystalline silicon solar panels are space-efficient. Since these solar panels yield the highest power outputs, they also require the least amount of space compared to any other types. Monocrystalline solar panels produce up to four times the amount of electricity as thin-film solar panels.
  • Monocrystalline solar panels live the longest. Most solar panel manufacturers put a 25-year warranty on their monocrystalline solar panels.
  • Tend to perform better than similarly rated polycrystalline solar panels at low-light conditions.
The efficiency of individual solar cells is higher than for entire solar panels/modules. For a complete overview over how the efficiency rates of the various solar cell technologies have advanced since 1975 check out Best Research-Cell Efficiencies (NREL). The efficiency rates in this article refer to solar panel/module efficiencies. Check out What Factors Determine Solar Panel Efficiency? for more information on this subject.

 

Disadvantages

  • Monocrystalline solar panels are the most expensive. From a financial standpoint, a solar panel that is made of polycrystalline silicon (and in some cases thin-film) can be a better choice for some homeowners.
  • If the solar panel is partially covered with shade, dirt or snow, the entire circuit can break down. Consider getting micro-inverters instead of central string inverters if you think coverage will be a problem. Micro-inverters will make sure that not the entire solar array is affected by shading issues with only one of the solar panels.
  • The Czochralski process is used to produce monocrystalline silicon. It results in large cylindrical ingots. Four sides are cut out of the ingots to make silicon wafers. A significant amount of the original silicon ends up as waste.
  • Monocrystalline solar panels tend to be more efficient in warm weather. Performance suffers as temperature goes up, but less so than polycrystalline solar panels. For most homeowners temperature is not a concern.
This article is solely about different types of solar panels. If you want to learn about what other equipment a photovoltaic system consists of, go to Grid-Tied, Off-Grid and Hybrid Solar Systems.

 

Polycrystalline Silicon Solar Cells

The first solar panels based on polycrystalline silicon, which also is known as polysilicon (p-Si) and multi-crystalline silicon (mc-Si), were introduced to the market in 1981. Unlike monocrystalline-based solar panels, polycrystalline solar panels do not require the Czochralski process. Raw silicon is melted and poured into a square mold, which is cooled and cut into perfectly square wafers.

Polycrystalline solar panels

 

Advantages

  • The process used to make polycrystalline silicon is simpler and cost less. The amount of waste silicon is less compared to monocrystalline.
  • Polycrystalline solar panels tend to have slightly lower heat tolerance than monocrystalline solar panels. This technically means that they perform slightly worse than monocrystalline solar panels in high temperatures. Heat can affect the performance of solar panels and shorten their lifespans. However, this effect is minor, and most homeowners do not need to take it into account.

 

Disadvantages

  • The efficiency of polycrystalline-based solar panels is typically 13-16%. Because of lower silicon purity, polycrystalline solar panels are not quite as efficient as monocrystalline solar panels.
  • Lower space-efficiency. You generally need to cover a larger surface to output the same electrical power as you would with a solar panel made of monocrystalline silicon. However, this does not mean every monocrystalline solar panel perform better than those based on polycrystalline silicon.
  • Monocrystalline and thin-film solar panels tend to be more aesthetically pleasing since they have a more uniform look compared to the speckled blue color of polycrystalline silicon.

 

String Ribbon Solar Cells

String Ribbon solar panels are also made out of polycrystalline silicon. String Ribbon is the name of a manufacturing technology that produces a form of polycrystalline silicon. Temperature-resistant wires are pulled through molten silicon, which results in very thin silicon ribbons. Solar panels made with this technology looks similar to traditional polycrystalline solar panels.

Evergreen Solar was the main manufacturer of solar panels using the String Ribbon technology. The company is now bankrupt, rendering the future for String Ribbon solar panels unclear.

 

Advantages

  • The manufacturing of String Ribbon solar panels only uses half the amount silicon as monocrystalline manufacturing. This contributes to lower costs.

 

Disadvantages

  • The manufacturing of String Ribbon solar panels is significantly more energy extensive and more costly.
  • Efficiency is at best on par with the low-end polycrystalline solar panels at around 13-14%. In research laboratories, researchers have pushed the efficiency of String Ribbon solar cells as high as 18.3%.[3]
  • String Ribbon solar panels have the lowest space-efficiency of any of the main types of crystalline-based solar panels.

 

Thin-Film Solar Cells (TFSC)

Depositing one or several thin layers of photovoltaic material onto a substrate is the basic gist of how thin-film solar cells are manufactured. They are also known as thin-film photovoltaic cells (TFPV). The different types of thin-film solar cells can be categorized by which photovoltaic material is deposited onto the substrate:

  • Amorphous silicon (a-Si)
  • Cadmium telluride (CdTe)
  • Copper indium gallium selenide (CIS/CIGS)
  • Organic photovoltaic cells (OPC)

 

Depending on the technology, thin-film module prototypes have reached efficiencies between 7–13% and production modules operate at about 9%. Future module efficiencies are expected to climb close to the about 10–16%.[4]

The market for thin-film PV grew at a 60% annual rate from 2002 to 2007.[5] In 2011, close to 5% of U.S. photovoltaic module shipments to the residential sector were based on thin-film.[1]

Thin-film solar panels

 

Advantages

  • Mass-production is simple. This makes them and potentially cheaper to manufacture than crystalline-based solar cells.
  • Their homogenous appearance makes them look more appealing.
  • Can be made flexible, which opens up many new potential applications.
  • High temperatures and shading have less impact on solar panel performance.
  • In situations where space is not an issue, thin-film solar panels can make sense.

 

Disdvantages

  • Thin-film solar panels are in general not very useful for in most residential situations. They are cheap, but they also require a lot of space. SunPower`s monocrystalline solar panels produce up to four times the amount of electricity as thin-film solar panels for the same amount of space.[3]
  • Low space-efficiency also means that the costs of PV-equipment (e.g. support structures and cables) will increase.
  • Thin-film solar panels tend to degrade faster than mono- and polycrystalline solar panels, which is why they typically come with a shorter warranty.

 

Solar panels based on amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride and copper indium gallium selenide are currently the only thin-film technologies that are commercially available on the market:

 

Amorphous Silicon (a-Si) Solar Cells

Because the output of electrical power is low, solar cells based on amorphous silicon have traditionally only been used for small-scale applications such as in pocket calculators. However, recent innovations have made them more attractive for some large-scale applications too.

With a manufacturing technique called “stacking”, several layers of amorphous silicon solar cells can be combined, which results in higher efficiency rates (typically around 6-8%).

Only 1% of the silicon used in crystalline silicon solar cells is required in amorphous silicon solar cells. On the other hand, stacking is expensive.

Read more about this technology in Amorphous Silicon Solar Panels.

 

Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) Solar Cells

Cadmium telluride is the only thin-film solar panel technology that has surpassed the cost-efficiency of crystalline silicon solar panels in a significant portion of the market (multi-kilowatt systems).

The efficiency of solar panels based on cadmium telluride usually operates in the range 9-11%.

First Solar has installed over 5 gigawatts (GW) of cadmium telluride thin-film solar panels worldwide. The same company holds the world record for CdTe PV module efficiency of 14.4%.[6]

 

Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIS/CIGS) Solar Cells

Compared to the other thin-film technologies above, CIGS solar cells have showed the most potential in terms of efficiency. These solar cells contain less amounts of the toxic material cadmium that is found in CdTe solar cells. Commercial production of flexible CIGS solar panels was started in Germany in 2011.

The efficiency rates for CIGS solar panels typically operate in the range 10-12 %.

Many thin-film solar cell types are still early in the research and testing stages. Some of them have enormous potential, and we will likely see more of them in the future.

Learn more about thin film solar panels here: Best Thin Film Solar Panels – Amorphous, Cadmium Telluride or CIGS?

 

Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV)

Lastly, we`ll briefly touch on the subject of building integrated photovoltaics. Rather than an individual type of solar cell technology, building integrated photovoltaics have several subtypes (or different methods of integration), which can be based on both crystalline-based and thin-film solar cells.

Building integrated photovoltaics can be facades, roofs, windows, walls and many other things that is combined with photovoltaic material. If you have the extra money and want to seemlessly integrate photovoltaics with the rest of your home, you should look up building integrated photovoltaics. For most homeowners it`s simply way too expensive.

This article covered the advantages and disadvantages of different solar panel types. If you want to learn more solar power in general, go to Solar Energy Pros and Cons.

 

Best Solar Panel Type for Home Use

Having your particular situation evaluated by an expert would be the best way to find out what solar panel type would be best for your household. Here are some of the typical scenarios we see:

 

Limited Space

For those who don’t have enough space for thin-film solar panels (the majority of us), or if you want to limit the amount of space their PV-system takes up, crystalline-based solar panels are your best choice (and they would likely be the your best choice even if you had the extra space). There are not a whole lot of solar installers and providers that offer thin-film solar panels for homeowners at this point.

You will have a choice of different solar panel sizes. The 180, 200 and 220-watt rated solar panels are usually physically the same size. They are manufactured exactly the same way, but under- or overperform when tested, hence ending up in different categories for power output. If size is important, you should go for the highest rated power output for a particular physical size.

Both mono- and polycrystalline solar panels are good choices and offer similar advantages. Even though polycrystalline solar panels tend to be less space-efficient and monocrystalline solar panels tend to produce more electrical power, this is not always the case. It would be nearly impossible to recommend one or the other by not examining the solar panels and your situation closer.

Monocrystalline solar panels are slightly more expensive, but also slightly more space-efficient. If you had one polycrystalline and one monocrystalline solar panel, both rated 220-watt, they would generate the same amount of electricity, but the one made of monocrystalline silicon would take up less space.

We always keep an up-to-date list over the most efficient solar panels on the market today: What are the Most Efficient Solar Panels?

 

Lowest Costs

If you want the lowest costs per rated power, or in other words, pay as little as possible for a certain amount of electricity, you should investigate if thin-film solar panels could in fact be a better choice than mono- or polycrystalline solar panels.

To see which solar panels are currently the cheapest, head over to Top 10 Cheapest (Best Value) Solar Panels.

 

References: [1] National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), [2] U.S. Energy Information Administration, [3] SunPower, [4] Renewable Energy World, [5] Sustainable Energy World, [6] First Solar, [7] SunPower.

Comments

  1. Samuel Boateng says

    Hi,
    I am final year student doing BEng Electrical Electronic Engineering at London South Bank University in UK.
    I just bumped into your website whiles researching on types of PV cells
    and found that your explanation is very informative and clear to understand.

  2. Tom says

    You state that “Polycrystalline solar panels have higher heat tolerance than those made of monocrystalline silicon” then you state “Polycrystalline solar cells have lower heat tolerance than monocrystalline solar cells”,which is it?

    Thanks

    • Mathias says

      Hi Tom,

      Sorry for the typo. The article has been updated and corrected.

      Monocrystalline have higher heat tolerance and therefore perform slightly better than polycrystalline modules in a warm climate.

      Heat tolerance is usually not something that you have to take into account unless you`re in a very warm climate. For example, monocrystalline is recommended in most of Australia, except in for far north where thin-film perform slightly better in some cases.

      Hope this answered your question!

      • Cassius Chong says

        What type of solar panel is the best in Philippines? also what is the difference of Microinverter and Solar charge Controller?

      • Victor Sotelo says

        What????!!!!!!!!

        Check your souces Matt, I worked in the manufacturing/project development sector of solar for the last 6 years.

        Here are the real facts:

        Monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency rates since they are made out of the highest-grade silicon. (Somewhat true, but its irrelevant as manufacturers now make equally rated panels from poly or mono material.)

        The efficiency rates of monocrystalline solar panels are typically 15-20%.

        (yes and no, mono by nature is most efficient than poly but at a module level a 250W Poly or Mono panels will perform somewhat the same.
        KEEP IN MIND PEOPLE, BEING MORE EFFICIENT DOES NOT MEAN IT WILL PRODUCE MORE POWER (kWh) )

        SunPower produces the highest efficiency solar panels on the U.S. market today. Their E20 series provide panel conversion efficiencies of up to 20.1%.[3]

        (True, but this is meant to be an unbiased informative article)

        Monocrystalline silicon solar panels are space-efficient.
        (So are poly, a 250W mono or poly panel have the same dimensions and produce somewhat the same depending on the climate)

        Since these solar panels yield the highest power outputs, they also require the least amount of space compared to any other types. Monocrystalline solar panels produce up to four times the amount of electricity as thin-film solar panels.
        (Sure, depending on the location they are installed, Thinfilm has a much higher temperature tolerance than mono)

        Monocrystalline solar panels live the longest. Most solar panel manufacturers put a 25-year warranty on their monocrystalline solar panels.
        (Not true, all manufacturers put a 25 year warranty on any panel regardless of the material is made out of)

        Tend to perform better than similarly rated polycrystalline solar panels at low-light conditions.

        (Totally true, key word “low-light conditions”)

        If the solar panel is partially covered with shade, dirt or snow, the entire circuit can break down.

        (Yes, that happens to any panel being amorphous, mono or poly it has nothing to do with the material of the cell, its how the actual cells are wired together)

        Consider getting micro-inverters instead of central string inverters if you think coverage will be a problem. Micro-inverters will make sure that not the entire solar array is affected by shading issues with only one of the solar panels.

        (Sure, but Microinverters are less reliable than centralized inverters, only use them if you REALLY need them)

        • Mathias says

          I appreciate your input Victor!

          You basically agree with what is written in the article and help clarifying some of the aspects that might cause confusion.

          As for the length of warranty – It is true that all reputable solar manufacturers produce solar panels with a 25-year long warranty, but this is not true for every solar panel on the market. I actually took the time to make a separate article on this subject. Check it out here: Solar Panel Warranty Comparison.

          Thanks again Victor

        • ed says

          Wow Victor you study your lesson well! That why I tend not to listen to one voice but to many voices and opinion! luckily there is a internet that we can get all opinion and if we are lucky get the right one.

        • Art says

          People, stick with Mathias, Victor wishes he knew as much as he thinks he does. Too many subtle errors in Victor’s post.

      • Tom says

        Hi Mathias, I am currently doing a PV yield simulation on PVSYST, i have compared the energy output of PV farm using LG Si- Polycrystalline module versus using LG Si- Monocrystalline module. I realised that the energy production if used Si-Polycrstalline module is slightly more than that than if Si-Monocrystalline module were used even though Si-Polycrystalline module has lower efficiency than Si-Monocrystalline module. Why is this so?

  3. Andy says

    Hi Mathias,

    I am currently looking to install a 4 kW system. I live in Australia and the temperature range for where I live is typically between 35 – 40 deg celsius in the summer and 0 – 20 deg celsius in the winter. We do not have limited space on our roof. The choices I have are GermanSolar poly & SMA Inverter, or Suntech mono & SMA Inverter – the latter being the more expensive by $2,000.00. Which would you recommend?

    Thanks.

    • Mathias says

      Hey Andy,

      I’m not sure if temperature range will matter in your situation (in most it doesen’t).

      Since you have a lot of available space on your roof, I would go for the cheapest system and scale as wanted. So what is the cheapest system? Contact the installer and ask for payback time, lifelengths, any performance issues down the line and so on (The installer should be able to help you with this).

      I would assume the poly would come out on top, but do the calculations just to be sure.

      Hope this helps!

    • darryl lemondine says

      I like the question and answers. The articles on the various panels sound good and I assume unbiased.
      I am very near to installing a solar system but which one for me?? mono or poly?

  4. Nicole says

    Hi Mathias,

    I want to buy used polycrystalline and monocrystalline silicon.What would you recommend?

    Thanks

    • patrice constant says

      hi a 100watt mono panel rated 21votl 5.4 amp whereas a 100watt poly is rated 21volt 5.8 amp there is no big difference between these two model if you consider the price poly are better

  5. Austin says

    Hi Mathias
    I live in the south west of australia. I am building a new house with heated slab and will be installing solar panels to feed into the grid to offset heating costs. We have quite cool temperatures and often cloudy days. Roof space is not a problem as our roof will mainly face North. What panel would perform best in cool temperatures and often overcast conditions?

  6. Malik says

    Hi Mathias,
    very well explained!

    how can you guide me for 100 KW roof top system on-grid type in Kuwait (Middle East). here the weather goes upto 55 degrees in summer.

    Regards,

    Malik

  7. Mario says

    There is a portable product that I want to buy to charge my cell and handheld devices made from Monocrystalline when I am off the grid. Its specs optimal operating temperature: 32 – 86 F. Where I will be using this product the summer temperature prior to the humidity factor is at the high end of the temperature given and normally does not surpass it. Does the humidity factor come into play when considering the impact on the the optimal operating temperature? The humidity can make it feel like it is close to 104 F as the weather network often says. This is a typical summer. The winters do not drop below 32 F even though they come close and the wind chill factor does not bring it under either. For all the research that I have done, no one and no company has ever explained if the humidity factor is part of their optimal operating temperature for their Monocrystalline. With this piece of information, I can better determine what is best for me. I would appreciate it if you can answer this question thank you.

  8. David says

    We are purchasing an EV and decided that adding a PV array to our roof would not only lower our electric bill, but would also cover the electricity used to charge our EV. We are currently in the mono vs. poly battle right now. One company suggests that we use Ecosolargy polycrystalline panels, which gives us a cost reduction between $2500 and $5500 over the monocrystalline panels. We are only looking at a max. 3 kW AC array, because larger would run into shade issues. We are in central California, near Sacramento, so we obviously get hot in the summer. The panels suggested by installers are between 235 kW and 255 kW. Obviously the SunPower panels will offer the greatest production using the smallest area, but we are having sticker shock with the cost. Are you aware of the quality of Ecosolargy Orion panels (from 235 kW to 260 kW). Do you believe we would be making a mistake to purchase these as compared to more expensive monocrystalline panels from SunPower, SolarWorld, Shüco, or Sharp? We have between 87-94% and 91-97% shade free on the two areas we plan to populate with panels using a Solmetric Shade Analysis tool. Thank you very much for your expertise and analysis.

  9. kerry says

    I live in Townsville far north QLD.
    I am unsure weither Poly or Mono is better for me? I seem to read that mono works better in heat and poly works better in heat? so which one is the best in heat? (the other is not an option) I also need to concider high humidity. thank you kindly Kerry

  10. Millie says

    I am “prepping” in the event of a natural or manmade disaster. So I recently ordered (have not yet received) a 600 Watt portable solar generator which has a lithium battery and comes with a 100 Watt foldable solar panel; I do not know if it is mono or poly. Would there be any advantage in having another solar panel?
    How long do they hold their charge when not being used?
    I live in southern California near L.A. in a townhome with no yard; solar panels would have to be placed on back patio which faces the west and gets afternoon sun. I have a front patio which faces the east but it is “open” and not secure like the back patio and I’m concerned it would be stolen so I choose not to place the solar panel on the the front patio. :(
    Can a solar panel be set up inside a house and charged by sun coming “thru a window”??? I’m a female senior citizen so I do not know anything about these “things”! THANK YOU for taking the time to answer my questions.

  11. Millie says

    I failed to mention that putting solar panels on my roof is out of the question, as I live in a townhome and the CCRs do not permit it. I don’t know if this has any bearing on the questions I previously asked but thought I should clarify; just in case. Thanks, again.

    • Art says

      Solar panels behind a window will charge a battery. I use a 5W poly panel to keep my 110 ampHr 12V boat battery charged when not in use. I’m not sure what you mean by solar generator. Maybe a marketing name for a solar panel and battery combo. 100W is a big panel for a battery charger. If you ever need your emergency plan, plan to move your panel from the east in the morning to the west in the afternoon. Hours of sun will be very important. I’m sure your panel is poly, it doesn’t matter. Do you have plug adapters from your battery to the gadgets you plan to use? Avoid using inverters when you can, for instance go straight DC via a cigarette lighter style charger to charge phones, tablets, etc.

  12. A.seenivasa Raghavan says

    Now only India is interested in solar energy.in this scenario I am interested to do research in this.please forward related news

  13. Tina says

    I have recently been having quotes for solar pv & was told about a battery called midnight sun from an Italian company that stores the solar energy you have generated in battery for later use. I can not find any information on this. The solar company was much too high priced for me so I don’t feel I can go back to them to ask further. They said they had exclusive rights on this bit of equipment. Have you heard anything about this?

    Also, I have a small roof space & it looks like I am only going to get 6 panels on, though 2 of the 3 companies so far said 7 panels. At any rate it will be a small system but I am south facing. From the inormation I have read, it seems that the mono-crystalline is going to be best for me. I’m in Yorkshire, England & though we do get some hot summers it doesn’t seem that this will be to hot to lower the systems efficiency.
    If you can give any advice on this I’d be grateful. Thanks!

  14. miso says

    Which photovoltaics is best for Macedonia, region Gevgelija, choosing between mono, poly and thin film of amorphous silicon, and which one is less expensive poly or thin film?

  15. satish babu says

    can you briefly explain how arrangement of atoms(crystalline or amorphous) effects efficiency? and among crystalline how mono crystalline’s efficiency is higher than polycrystalline’s?

  16. satish babu says

    This is an extension of the previous question…. you have said that “The more perfectly aligned the silicon molecules are, the better the solar cell will be at converting solar energy (sunlight) into electricity “…… can you explain the physics behind it?

    • Mathias says

      Hi Satish,

      In polycrystalline silicon, there are defects in the crystal structure known as grain boundaries. Monocrystalline consists of silicon in which the crystal structure is continuous and unbroken. The more homogenous the crystalline framework is, the better the semiconducting properties.

      Hope this helps!

  17. Doug says

    I am on a farm and I have lots of space to create a field of panels.
    My location in in the NE of the unites States.
    What would my cheapest alternative be considering I could attach as many panels as I would want to a system?

    • Mathias says

      Hi Doug,

      This is a case where thin-film solar panels might actually be cheapest.

      I suggest you call up the solar installers in your area, tell them that you have lots of space, and ask them specifically for thin-film solar panels. Make sure to receive and compare quotes from the different installers (Lifetime energy production (kWh)/Lifetime costs ($)).

      Hope this helps!

      -Mathias

  18. Ash says

    I need to choose between two poly-crystalline solar panels both same output wattage = 230w

    first panel, V = 34.4V , I = 6.68A

    second panel, V = 30.15V , I = 7.63A

    the two panels are identical except for the specification above.

    so is there any suggestion which one should I choose and why ?

    it is very urgent please

    thanks

  19. Jeet Bhatia says

    You wrote in one of you r replies that because of grain boundaries the consistency in electron flow is less and this affects the efficiency.
    The standard size of a wafer is roughly 15X15 cm.
    My question is if we double the size of a wafer, won’t it mean a better relative continuity of electron flow as compared to the current standard sizes? yes that would mean larger Ingots, but is this a viable solution?

    Moreover how much would it affect the efficiency of MCC if they were not pseudosquares?

  20. Mark says

    Hi,

    So I want some panels. Money isn’t really an issue, aesthetics and efficiency in cold-country climates are my issues. So I live in Northern Ireland, where it rains often – which panels are best for me?

  21. John says

    Hi
    I want to setup solar power plant of 5 MW in India. Although it is commercial so please suggest me which one is better to setup to produce require amount of electricity and which company’s solar modules we have to use.

    • B.Sekhon says

      Hi John
      I am from India living in the state of Punjab on the border of Rajasthan. I have lots of land and was thinking of setting up a solar power plant and am looking for a partner who can arrange funds at a lower rate of interest from outside India as the banks here charge high ROI. the key to success of this venture is cheaper funds. The state govt. is ready to buy electricity @ RS 8.50 per unit. The cost for 1 MW works out to be Rs.60 million. You need to produce minimum of 1.5 million units of power per year. Weather conditions are ideal in my area with more than 300 days of sunlight.
      Let me know if interested

  22. Dan Parpan says

    I live in Northern Illinois. My roof line faces east south east. Will this be o.k. for solar panels? Also, what would be the best bang for my $$$?

  23. Matthew says

    Hello

    Regarding CTM (Cell To module loss – degradation rate)Could you explain which solar module batter between mono crystalline & multi crystlline solar module

    In my opinion, although same efficiency solar cell power is used for making module,,, I think multi type has batter Pmax,,right?

  24. kumar says

    Thank you,very useful article about solar cells.
    would you please suggest for low cost which type cell is suitable for bore well pump application. i would like to use it for 2.2KW, 415 volt,50Hz,3phase pump.Installer claim they have technology without back up battries,they say DC current is converted toAC by using a inverter.

  25. P N Roy Choudhury says

    Hi
    Want to make a solar charger to recharge four AA cells that Will really go for years without any maintenance . Here winter season means 2 C and summer is with 40C . Rainy season is also with cloudless sky .
    I need something that would recharge the cells even in cloudy rainy or winter season and go for years without any maintenance .
    Please inform me which type solar panels Will suit me .
    Regards .

  26. frank says

    in terms of efficiency between armophous and the crystaline, which one can best suit the climatic conditions of my country (malawi) east africa and wat are the best conditions for these solar cells……….. pliz

  27. Muhammad Zubair says

    HELLO,
    m a final year collage student,and i am working on a ‘solar powered mobile charging’ system ,
    i was really confused of which solar panel to use …….so cld u plz guide me ,on wh solar panel to use…..
    shall be really thankful ,

  28. shashikanta says

    thanks for such great information. I want to know what type of PV is use in space, i mean for setellite where huge radiation, heat, solar flair, etc. strikes on panel, n withstand all.

  29. Pat says

    There is a solar company here in Ontario that will put up a solar panel system on a roof for FREE. They maintain and insure it etc. for 20 years. The hydro generated goes back to Hydro One and depending on how many panels you have and how much is generated you can receive anywhere from $200 to $1,200 per year annually for 20 years. If you sell the house, new owners take it over. If you need a new roof they come and take it off, you get them or whoever to replace shingles and they put it back for NO CHARGE. At the end of 20 years you can buy it all for a buck !!! Does anyone have any comments or experience with this type of deal???

  30. Brijal says

    hi
    i am final year b.e mechanical enginering student from jamia millia islamia university new delhi.

    your blog is very helpful for me for searching suitable PV module ..
    thank you for knowledge

  31. csaw says

    Hi,
    i want to install 1000w Solar system for home but the problem is to identify the best Quality of panel,Solar Inverter and charge controller.
    can u help me for choosing the Good .

  32. Werner says

    Hi, I live in Central America,Guatemala, I need to know witch will be the best solar panel kit for a house at the beach. We go to this house every 2 weekends. 350kv every month.
    I

  33. DEEPAK says

    i live in delhi (india).. where climate changes evry alternate day after summers… i want to import solar cells for homes and for shopping malls.. plz suggest me the best n cheapest solar cells with maximum output efficieny and low maintaince cost… also which dont have performance and breakdown issues… plz help me …. just want to go GREEN…!!!!! “SAVE PLANET”

  34. Rawan Al Oqlah says

    i live in Kuwait and i am thinking to design a villa which has solar panels. which type do you think i should use?

    • bilal ch says

      Dear,
      i would suggest you to have polycrstalline solar modules because they are more efficient than thin film,and economical.
      The other reason for poly panels is that they required less space.
      Regards,
      Bilal ch

  35. msafiri paschal says

    thanks for a good article, am a man from Tanzania. what i think is that the mono crystalline solar panel is good even though have high cost! it is best to buy something with high cost but lasts longer! thanks.

  36. Muhammad Emran says

    At 40 to 50 C which solar panel is suitable mono or poly. I am talking about lahore pakistan where now a days temperature is 45 C.

  37. manning madison lim says

    i am from the philippines and i am installing two panels of polycrystalline on the roof , i am just not sure how much energy it will produce coz its my first time to install a solar panel anyway i will post what outcome will my project makes.

  38. albert kamara says

    hi,
    I bought a 180w monocrystalline solar panel from china, when installed, it could not produce energy even though the sun was hot.
    Is there anything i could do to solve this problem?
    thanks

    • abdullah says

      if its not broken you need a multimeter to test the output, it should give an output even at a shaded area, if not check the cable/connector or a blocking diode, if you can find it, if there is no hope it broken and has factory defect! send it back to china and ask for refund!!

  39. Thayagaraen says

    Really a good article and use full. The things are simplified and a very understandable way for information seekers

  40. denise says

    Is Amorphous silicon solar panels advisable to be used here in the Philippines? And how long is its lifeline?

    • says

      Yes, a-Si solar panels are suitable for Philippines. They have limited losses in high temperatures and convert more sunlight to electricity in diffuse radiation conditions. The good products have guarantee for 25 years, like crystalline solar panels.

  41. Arsalan says

    Respected Sir ,
    I am From Pakistan ,And I am looking up to setup a 2 KW System for My Residence .Here Temperature Ranges From 35 Celsius to 45 Celsius ,Could you please advice Me which type of Solar Panel is Suitable for my home .
    Moreover What Is the Normal/Nominal Operational Temperature for A polycrystalline,
    Mono crystalline and Thin Film Cells .
    Your Reply is Very Much Important For me..I will be Waiting

    Thanks alot

  42. mohamed hassan says

    Really this article is very good and clear for under gradual students and advanced levels as well

  43. Giampo says

    YOLANDA TYPHOON led us without electricity (and half house..). used to live near Guiuan, now I’m in Italy with a project to install a photovolt.system good for my family and the neighborhood: some already fix a bit what was left of their houses, some living under tarpaulin. Even just a small bulb can do a lot in the nightime. then a couple of ref/freezer in common would help to preserve food.
    I have plenty of space and no shade. thinking about a 5kw system.
    weather conditions are typical for tropical areas. high heat and big rain.
    I just start searching in internet, first contact was with a chinese factory, TANFON.

    I need some advices.
    thanks a lot
    Giampo

    • says

      I think that for tropical climates, thin film solar panels are a good solution. In high temperatures and dense clouds, they would produce more than crystalline silicon solar panels.

      Since you have a lot of space, space – efficiency would not be an issue. CdTe or a-Si based thin film panels would be good candidates.

      You should also look for panels that have 25 years guarantee for power output, in order to ensure that the material is stable and will not suffer from degradation.

  44. saba says

    hello
    i live in a country with weather like England
    its too cloudy
    I calculate and used a 10W Mono-crystalline panel
    its working correctly in sunny and normal day but my battery doesn’t charge completely in cloudy day
    do you know witch panel is better to use in this kind of weather?
    i only can find mono / poly and amorf in my country
    thank you

  45. Tsungai says

    Hie Mathias

    i stay in Zimbabwe and would like to buy a solar system to power my 20 energy savers, for my television radio and phone charging system

    which one is teh best to buy

  46. ADAM says

    hi,
    i’m from middle east, in summer (20-50 c) which is the best type of solar panel suit this area ???

    thank you

  47. SDButt says

    I am using Kaneka Hybrid solar panel

    Pls reply with comparison to other panel types, I chose them as they have a better output and temperature resistance the temperature is higher than 40 degree Celsius

  48. Timcat100 says

    Good article.
    I am 54 now, I have been researching solar systems for over ten years.
    I know that I will never live long enough to get all my money back from an investment in PV just by factoring in the monthly power savings from a system. Looking at my retirement savings though and what the banks are paying me on my investments. Example 10,000 Cad sitting in a savings account is paying squat 1% at best, now 10,000 invested in PV is really looking like an viable option to earn on money just sitting there. I guess the only risk is how much did I earn in return when I retire and what is the system worth if I downsize and sell my home with the PV investment? Anybody out there with a crystal ball? If I get into this as a hobby or just bragging rights I am ready to drop 10 k into it but if I could make more return somehow I am ready to invest 100 k in covering every square inch of my property and sell the extra power to my neighbour’s instead of the grid tie system. Why not just over produce my needs and sell it to the homes next door and let “them” Grid tie? Bets are though this has already been shot down and not allowed by the utilities people unless the power is actually generated on their property. Even if I made only .01% on my investment it’s still better than what the banks are paying.

    I am thinking of in terms of me over producing my needs with no grid tie and running a 100 amp service to my buddy next door and he puts his own grid tie in or he buys all his needs from me. I am terrified of this grid tie bull crap…I think we are being trapped into being slaves to the grid…and with this new grid tie stuff that they are bending over backwards now to allow a grid tie is because utility company’s are afraid that we could actually easily pull the plug on them.

  49. Alche says

    Any advice most welcome!

    I have just been quoted for 7 solar panels and 1 invertor. I was informed that for this I will get money back from the government FIT = £140 per month and have to pay finance of £106 pm leaving me with a saving of £34 pm (this apparently has been worked out on the rate of 2.9 hours of daylight, so we should get a lot more)?

    My brother got his panels a few years back when the FIT was double the present tarrif, he has 14 panels and 2 invertors and he is only getting around £100 per month back from his FIT. I am very dubious as to how this company have worked out my figures as if they are incorrect i wouldn’t be able to afford the direct debit for finance.

    I need urgent advice as we are due to have them fitted on Saturday!

    Thanks

  50. Arwin says

    Hi Pat,

    In the process of installing this FREE panels. It is not actually free. What you have to do is actually pay the solar company for the energy the panels produce. Kind of like a RENT to OWN theory. No money up front but at the end you pay twice as much more for the panels. But, in my experience paying more for the panels still saves me money because the kilowatt price is cheaper than what my current electric company is charging me. The solar company makes a good profit but I also save money. So, realistically the only one getting hurt is my current electric company because I don’t have to pay them.

  51. ARandhawa says

    Still it is not clear in your main writing that which panel (mono or poly) is temperature sensitive.
    Please correct it in your research.
    Thanks

  52. says

    Wonderful Article , i have complete information regarding solar panels after read this article please do inform me through email if some thing new comes in the market.
    warm regards.
    Adnan Siddiqui

    karachi.
    Pakistan

  53. reji mathew says

    which type of pannels is best in Indian situations.
    mono or ploy?

    we are getting only 5 to 7 hours sunlight in all south Indian Places.
    In indian market mono and poli are available,,
    so .. which type you are recomending for home use?
    pls reply on this coments…

  54. Egg says

    Thank you! I was wondering what in the hell was going on with the info since it was written in 2013 and should be better up to date on facts.
    Was wondering if this site is a marketing outreach for some monocrystalline manufacturer, perhaps SunPower.
    The whole thing about temperature and lack of info about cloud/dust conditions was interesting. If the info was good, why couldnt they just put up a chart averaging 5 top sellers in terms mono, poly and the amorphous varieties?

  55. Rajesh Kannan says

    Hi,

    Thank you very much for this Article….

    Actually i have going to install 3 HP motor pump set instead my Diesel Engine , so i want to clear about which type of Cells are best for money and efficiency, i got clear idea in this blog…

    Thanks again

    N.Rajesh kannan

  56. Vijay says

    Best Article. This gives lot of clarity regarding solar panels. I like Thin Film solar panel most. But they have least efficiency. But thanks for information.

  57. Elvis Chu says

    Wonderful article, i want to ask a question: For the working temperature of poly-Si module and mono-Si module under the same irradiation condition, which is higher and why?

  58. Chetan Dewangan says

    i want to basic requirement for roof top solar grid system for 1-10 Kwp. so what kind of device requirement and if any one change in 1 Kwp panel is use 100, 200, 250 wp panel arrange in the system. so please give me some details. and which is best for us.

  59. Dan says

    Thank you so much for this well- coordinated and educative talk. Please I want to ask if hybrid PV modules are taken into consideration in Australia. And what are the prospects of this option, now and in the nearest future?

  60. Sagar Modi says

    Article is very informative and straight forward but efficiency data is difficult to understand.These data are related to manufacturing side (standard conditions) only however in real practice there are many things like cleaning, shadow effect, aging effect,angle, crack modules and internal parameter of solar cells which make solar cells less efficient.Article doesn’t give us all information based on which one should select panel.

  61. Diamond Jim Legend says

    Hi Mathias
    I have an off-grid system that I’m upgrading with more PV but since I’m going with an MPPT I need to replace all, superseded, panels. In the above article you’ve mentioned mono outperform poly in low light. My question is “by how much”? We are in a sub-tropical area that at certain times of the year can have many consecutive cloudy days and I’m trying to get an idea if it’s worth spending the extra $ on mono….?
    Roof space is not an issue, nor is the temperature coefficient.
    Other specs, if relevant, are currently 10xKC80, 24V as 12x2V AGM. PL40 being upgraded to a 60A MPPT.
    Thanks for your help.

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