We've created a comprehensive guide to monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film solar panels to help you decide which type is right for your home. Monocrystalline panels are the most expensive of the three types of solar panels due to their manufacturing process and higher performance capacity. Examining all types of solar panels and understanding their unique characteristics will help you make a more accurate decision. Monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film panels have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the solution you should look for depends on your property and your goals for the solar project.
However, they can be a good option to choose between the different types of solar panels where there is a lot of space available. Monocrystalline solar panels can achieve efficiencies greater than 20 percent, while polycrystalline solar panels typically have efficiencies of between 15 and 17 percent. You can quickly distinguish these panels because these types of solar panels have squares, their angles are not cut and have a speckled blue appearance. Polyethylene panels, as these solar panels are known in the alternative energy business, are multiple pieces of silicon that are melted, treated and molded into uniform rectangles.
While both types of solar panels have cells made of silicon, monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels vary in the composition of silicon itself. Thin-film solar panels can also be made of amorphous silicon (a-Si), which is similar to the composition of monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. Distinguishing between different types of solar panels often means differentiating between single-junction and multi-junction or first, second or third generation solar panels. Unlike monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels, thin-film panels are made from a variety of materials.
Bifacial solar panels can capture sunlight from both the front and back of the panel, producing more electricity than similarly sized traditional solar panels. In addition, they have the shortest warranties because their lifespan is shorter than that of monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels. However, the way in which monocrystalline solar cells are molded means that there is plenty of white space in the panel. Single junctions and multiple junctions differ in the number of solar panel layers that will observe sunlight, while the classification by generation focuses on the materials and efficiency of different types of solar panels.