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Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels – What is the difference? 2021

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Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline importand problem before buying solar panels. A very often asked question to  is: “Which one is recommended, polycrystalline or would you prefer monocrystalline?”Well, a question about which opinions differ! In addition to personal preference, in terms of colors and design, efficiency, and of course the budget plays a very decisive role here. We are going to tell youcheck about Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels.

What is the difference between Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels?

Monocrystalline cells are made from wafers (monocrystalline silicon disks), as they are also used for the manufacture of semiconductors. The color of the cell is rather dark, here the color spectrum goes from dark blue to deep black and are relatively expensive.

Polycrystalline cells consist of disks that do not have the same crystal orientation everywhere. You can e.g. B. are made by casting and are cheaper and most common. A much lighter color from royal blue to ultramarine is typical for polycrystalline solar cells. The “crystal drawing”, ie the delimitation of the individual silicon crystals, can also be seen very clearly here.

The shape of the cells is also different. Monocrystalline cells are a mixture of octagon and square, although there are also cells that only have two flattened corners on one side. In the case of polycrystalline cells, it is usually a square cell.

Both the polycrystalline and the monocrystalline solar cell deliver a voltage of around 0.5V (volt), and their output is usually between 4.5 – 6W p (watt peak). In most photovoltaic modules, 60, 120 or 144 cells are connected together in series and thus generate a module voltage of around 30V and outputs of around 270Wp up to 400Wp

Basically, it should be noted that monocrystalline cells or solar modules deliver more electricity than polycrystalline photovoltaic modules with the same area.

It’s all a question of efficiency

With polycrystalline photovoltaic modules, the efficiency is between 15% and 18%, depending on the manufacturer. Monocrystalline photovoltaic modules , e.g. from Solarwatt , QCells , Axitec or Sunpower , have an efficiency between 19% and 23%, which is significantly higher than that of the polycrystalline, but the manufacturing costs are higher for the mono cells than for the poly cells due to a more complex manufacturing process.

In the end, this is also reflected in the price of the entire system. The costs for monocrystalline solar modules are between 10-20% higher than for polycrystalline modules. On the other hand, the yield of a monocrystalline module is higher than that of the polycrystalline modules. With both module types, an amortization between 8-12 years is possible, whereby the yield of a monocrystalline module is higher over the entire lifetime of the module.

With regard to the performance in ideal as well as less good conditions (e.g. cloudiness), the experts argue, almost every portal makes different statements on this topic as to which module is the “better” in the end; This is because various factors play a role in the measurement and influence the measurement result.

Which photovoltaic module is now the better?

In order to investigate the answer, we carried out a small series of tests, how the modules behave in rain or bad weather, it should be noted that the monocrystalline modules perform slightly better here. The current supplied is very slightly higher here (milliampere range). On the other hand, however, there is the temperature factor. You probably know the temperature difference between a white and a black surface that is in the sun. Similarly, a dark solar module or solar panel reaches a higher temperature than a light polycrystalline solar module. The hotter the solar module gets, the less voltage it generates (at a module temperature of 60 ° C this is considerably less than the ideal values), so you stand against the increased output in bad weather – as you can see,

To simplify it a bit: The nameplate on the solar module says 320Wp, so this module will also generate 320Wp of power under ideal conditions! With a polycrystalline solar module, however, the power output to the inverter will be a little higher than that of the monocrystalline solar module.

Another factor is the loss of performance. A polycrystalline solar module loses around 0.2-0.4% less power per year over its entire service life. The monocrystalline modules lose between 0.3 and 0.5% of their performance per year,

A power loss in photovoltaic modules always turns out differently, so that there will be larger differences after the first few years. At this point, power optimizers or module optimizers from SolarEdge or SMA Tigo optimize the differences in performance.

The last distinction concerns the price: As already mentioned above, polycrystalline solar modules are:

  1. Is the production less expensive
  2. The global demand for monocrystalline photovoltaic modules is higher

These circumstances ensure that the polycrystalline modules are cheaper than the monocrystalline modules.


Due to their higher efficiency, monocrystalline modules require less roof area to generate a comparable amount of electricity. If only a limited roof area is available, the choice of monocrystalline photovoltaic modules is recommended. Despite the higher module price, monocrystalline modules make sense here. Because with every additional self-generated kilowatt hour (kWh) you increase your own consumption and significantly reduce your electricity costs. In the long term, this compensates for the higher purchase price.

The polycrystalline technology makes more sense for large roof areas or outdoor systems. As a rule, more space is available here than on the roof of a single-family house. A higher number of polycrystalline modules can compensate for differences in performance compared to monocrystalline modules.

Ultimately, the appearance of the modules also plays a role. Depending on whether you like blue or black better. This decision may also be influenced by the existing color of the roof covering. So it’s not just a question of taste!


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