Solar Cell Comparison Chart – Mono-, Polycrystalline and Thin Film

Below is a chart that lists the most used solar cell technologies today, their specifications, and how they compare against each other. Thin film solar cells include amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride (CdTe) and copper indium gallium selenide (CIS/CIGS).


Monocrystalline Polycrystalline Amorphous CdTe CIS/CIGS
Typical module efficiency 15-20% 13-16% 6-8% 9-11% 10-12%
Best research cell efficiency 25.0% 20.4% 13.4% 18.7% 20.4%
Area required for 1 kWp 6-9 m2 8-9 m2 13-20 m2 11-13 m2 9-11 m2
Typical length of warranty 25 years 25 years 10-25 years
Lowest price 0.75 $/W 0.62 $/W 0.69 $/W
Temperature resistance Performance drops 10-15% at high temperatures Less temperature resistant than monocrystalline Tolerates extreme heat Relatively low impact on performance
Additional details Oldest cell technology and most widely used Less silicon waste in the production process Tend to degrade faster than crystalline-based solar panels
Low availability on the market


Lowest price is based on listings of wholesalers and retailers on the Internet (June 3, 2013). Best research cell efficiency is data collected from National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

For in-depth information on the differences between mono-, polycrystalline and thin film, I suggest you look at Which Solar Panel Type is Best? Mono- vs. Polycrystalline vs. Thin Film. For factors that determine efficiency, and to learn the difference between cell and module efficiency, check out What Factors Determine Solar Panel Efficiency?.

Comments - 3

Jonathan (South Africa)


On the page comparing the different cell types (, it says “Monocrystalline have higher heat tolerance and therefore perform slightly better than polycrystalline modules in a warm climate.”

In this table, it says that the performance of Monocrystalline cells drops 10-15% in higher temperatures.

Please can you clarify.

June 10, 2013 8:25 pm Reply


Hi Jonthan!

Polycrystalline solar cells are less temperature resistant than monocrystalline, which means their performance drops more when the temperature goes up.

I was not able to find a specific percentage range on polycrystalline, but I`m working on it.

June 10, 2013 9:21 pm Reply

habib ur rahman

sir! i want to buy trina a sharp solar panel 250 watt for domestic use, but i,m confuse that which i buy. Plz email to mine curries. which is the best for me,tell me made in and by,type of panel,specefications,performance during cloudy sesson etc. my home has no sheded and from morning upto evening under sunlight

August 21, 2013 7:23 pm Reply

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