I Will Tell You The Truth About Polycrystalline Solar Panels In The Next 60 Seconds

Categories: Solar PV Panels.

Polycrystalline solar panels are one component of the rooftop solar PV systems available to renewable energy buyers. Solar panels benefit you as the homeowner and they also render a service to society and the environment. They reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and help keep your air cleaner.


As the owner of a solar PV system you can save on your energy costs and you can feel good about having done your bit in saving the world, or at least, contributing to keeping the air less polluted.


A solar system consists of solar panels that are made up of silicon crystals. The job of these crystals is to convert sunlight into electrical energy. The electrons in these silicon crystals get into motion on receiving the sunlight and produce an electric current which gets converted into clean and green energy.

Polycrystalline solar panels

Solar panels for a photovoltaic (PV) system can be broadly classified into two categories: mono-crystalline (mono) and polycrystalline (poly). Both mono-crystalline and polycrystalline solar panels play exactly the same role in a photovoltaic system and that is to harness the energy from the sun and convert it into solar energy.


Another similarity between polycrystalline solar panels and mono-crystalline solar panels is that they are both made from the same material, that is silicon and it is quite durable. While looking at solar panels for your home solar system, you need to first understand the primary differences in the technology behind both kinds of panels. Depending on your need, you can select from either of these two.


Let’s first understand what exactly polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels are.

Polycrystalline solar panels

Source: https://www.civicsolar.com

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

polycrystalline solar panels

Source: https://morningchores.com

The first solar panels based on polycrystalline silicon technology entered the market in 1981. Polycrystalline solar panels are made by melting several fragments of raw silicon together. Melted silicon is then poured into square moulds and cooled. These are then cut into perfectly square wafers that are used in the solar panels. Polycrystalline solar panels do not use a single crystal of silicon.  


In common parlance, polycrystalline solar panels are also known as multi-crystalline, or many-crystal silicon panels, names that are derived from their manufacturing technology. The presence of multiple crystals in each cell restricts the movement of the electrons, which leads to polycrystalline solar panels having an efficiency level lower than that of mono-crystalline panels.

MonoCrystalline Solar Panels

monocrystalline

Monocrystalline solar panels are made by forming higher grade silicon into bars and then cutting them into wafer size subsequently. They are made out of silicon ingots, which have a cylindrical shape. These cylindrical ingots are further cut on four sides to make silicon wafers and give the mono-crystalline solar panels their shape. This cutting optimizes their performance and lowers the costs of a single mono-crystalline solar cell.


Unlike polycrystalline solar panels, these types of panels use single-crystal silicon thus giving them their name of mono-crystalline. Since the cell in these panels comprises a single crystal, it facilitates free movement of the electrons which increases their efficiency by several notches.


The composition of the cells is what marks the major difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells.

Difference Between Monocrystalline And Polycrystalline Solar Cells

Now let’s consider some other factors that make both these panels different from each other.

  • Price - Monocrystalline solar panel price is more than that of polycrystalline solar panel price. Because of its higher efficiency, mono-crystalline panels demand a higher price
  • Efficiency - We established earlier in the article that mono-crystalline panels are more efficient due to their cell composition. Their efficiency falls in the 15-20% range while that of polycrystalline panels falls in the 13-16%. The most efficient polycrystalline panels are currently being manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
  • Aesthetics - Mono-crystalline panels are blackish while polycrystalline panels are blue in color
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    Major manufacturers - Mono-crystalline panels are the forte of companies like Canadian Solar, SunPower, LG, Hyundai, and SolarWorld. Major players in the polycrystalline panel manufacture are Hanwha, Kyocera, Hyundai, SolarWorld, and Trina. Most solar panel manufacturers today are making both kinds of panels for the solar industry as can both be used in home solar systems
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    Lifespan - Monocrystalline panels enjoy a little longer lifespan than polycrystalline solar panels. One main reason for this is the fact the mono-crystalline solar panels are more heat resistant. There is a twenty-five-year warranty on most mono-crystalline solar panels
Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Advantages And Disadvantages

You as a homeowner need to evaluate the polycrystalline solar panels advantages and disadvantages before you come to a decision about whether polycrystalline is the right choice for you. We have listed out for you some major pros and cons of polycrystalline panels below.

Advantages:

  • Easy on the pocket - When a homeowner goes in for a solar system, the primary motive behind it is saving money. This saving, in the long run, comes in the form of reduced electricity bills, but in the short run, you can save money by going in for the less expensive polycrystalline solar panels. This is one of the biggest advantages of a polycrystalline solar panel.
  • Weather conditions - If the polycrystalline panel is covered with snow, dirt, or shade, the circuit of this solar panel does not break down easily.
  • Accessibility - One of the reasons which deterred homeowners from going in for a solar system was its high price. Polycrystalline solar panel modules have now motivated people who could not afford earlier afford the polycrystalline solar cells.
  • Environmental benefits - Along with a host of advantages that the solar system offers in general like reduction in greenhouse gases, polycrystalline solar panels go one step further in this mission. Some manufacturers like Mitsubishi that make polycrystalline solar panels have gone the extra mile in their products. Their intensive R&D has led them to introduce new technologies that have done away with the process of expensive soldering. This soldering contains lead and removal of this process has proven beneficial to the environment.
  • Manufacturing process - The manufacturing process of polycrystalline solar panels does not involve the Czochralski method which is an expensive method and is used in making the mono-crystalline solar panels. The lower production cost reflects in their lower market price. This makes polycrystalline panels attractive for homeowners who are willing to compromise a little on the efficiency if they are getting a considerably lower price. Check out the video below for the manufacturing process of polycrystalline solar panels 

Check out the video below for the manufacturing process of polycrystalline solar panels 

Disadvantages

  • Space constraints - Since polycrystalline solar panels offer a lower efficiency level than their counterpart, the mono-crystalline solar panels; you will need to use a large number to get to your desired efficiency level. If you are running low on space on your roof then, you would want to go in for high-efficiency PV cells that take up less space and will give more per square foot electricity generation. Urban homeowners generally go in for mono panels due to the space restraint they face.
  • Ownership of the solar system - If your mode of solar financing is through a power purchase agreement (PPA), then you would essentially be paying per kilowatt-hour for the electricity generated by your solar system. In this case, your savings will be made up of your monthly payments. However, if you intend to purchase and install your own solar system, then, it is advisable to go in for the high-efficiency mono-crystalline panels which will give you higher returns on your solar investment.
  • Heat tolerance - Polycrystalline panels have a lower heat tolerance as compared to mono-crystalline solar panels and this affects their performance level as well as shortens their lifespan.
  • Aesthetics - The speckled blue color of the polycrystalline solar panels is not as appealing as the black hues of mono-crystalline panels.
  • Fragile - These panels are quite fragile and can suffer damage even with a heavy tree branch falling on them or a heavy object falling on them during strong wind conditions.

What’s New In Polycrystalline Solar Panels?

Listed below are some of the top polycrystalline solar panels in the US and the latest offerings by them to the solar industry.

polycrystalline solar panels


Renogy Polycrystalline Solar Panel

Renogy have given their 270Watt 24Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel to its customers and this panel has them floored with its gorgeous aesthetics. This Renogy 270-Watt polycrystalline solar panel offers industry leading performance and it's the first step to converting your house to being a solar generator. The one we looked at is a 10 piece set but other sizes of kit are available.


It is perfect for residential rooftop systems to decrease your electrical bill. Renogy even sell it for a large off-grid system commercial and utility systems.


The Renogy monocrystalline panels will give you more efficiency per square area of roof space if the right number of Renogy Polycrystalline panels won't fit. Either type of solar module have the ability to withstand extreme elements and severe weather. The panels come with a 25-year power output warranty, plus 10-year material and workmanship warranty.


Gearing up for 270 Watts of power, here are the specifications: 

  • Maximum Power: 270W
  • Maximum System Voltage: 600V DC (UL) 
  • Optimum Operating Voltage (Vmp): 30.80V
  • Optimum Operating Current (Imp): 8.77A
  • Maximum Series Fuse Rating: 15A 
  • Dimensions: 64.5 x 39 x 1.6 inches 

Those are some of the key features of this panel. Each panel weighs 40 lbs so when you get them delivered make sure you check them immediately to ensure the delivery crew didn't drag them to your door and damage the frames.

Jinko Solar 310W Poly SLV/WHT

The JinkoSolar 310W x 4 poly panel set boasts of an effective range of 15.98 percent and 72 Cells Per Module. Going by the industry standards, this is good for polycrystalline solar panels. It is powerful enough to generate electricity to the tune of 310 Watts and an output voltage of 37 Volts. The panel comes equipped with high durability and puts aside the snow and wind-related concerns of homeowners. It can withstand high-pressure levels up to 5400 Pa and 3600 Pa in snow and wind conditions.

  • Maximum Power PTC: 281W
  • Maximum System Voltage: 1000V DC (UL) 
  • Optimum Operating Voltage (Vmp): 37.00V
  • Optimum Operating Current (Imp): 8.38A
  • Maximum Series Fuse Rating: 15A 
  • Dimensions: 77 x 1.6 x 39.1 inches 

Those are some of the key features of this panel. Each panel weighs 58.5 lbs so on the heavy side so be sure you check them immediately on arrival to ensure the delivery crew didn't literally drop them at your door and damage the Clear Aluminium Module Frame Materials.

Grape Solar GS-P60-265 Polycrystalline Solar Panel

With high efficiency solar cells (approximately 19 percent), the Grape Solar GS P60 has rightly earned a space in this list. Polycrystalline made from quality silicon material for high Module Conversion efficiency, long term output stability, reliability and using high transmittance, low iron tempered glass makes this panel quite sturdy with enhanced impact resistance. It can cough up an energy output of 265 watts along with a maximal voltage of 37 Volts. 

The Grape Solar 265-watt polycrystalline solar panel pack bundles 4 Grape Solar 265-watt solar panels for extra savings. The Grape Solar 265-watt polycrystalline is virtually maintenance free.

  • Maximum Power PTC: 281W
  • Maximum System Voltage: 1000V DC (UL) 
  • Optimum Operating Voltage (Vmp): 30.96V
  • Optimum Operating Current (Imp): 8.56A
  • Maximum Series Fuse Rating: 15A 
  • Dimensions: 67 x 42 x 18 inches 

Closing Comments

This website provides information that educates and informs on a range of solar options. This blog deals with Polycrystalline solar options. There are links if you would like to explore pricing of the solar panels reviewed.


Feel free to share this with your friends considering a renewable energy option for power in the future.


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