The sun has always had the potential to be of solar benefit to mankind. Ever since humans knew that the sun has energy in it that can be used to our benefits, we have been looking into ways by which this can be achieved. It began in the 17th century when the Greeks and Romans used mirrors to tap energy from the sun in other to light fire. The Chinese were said to participate in this feat as well. Monks were said to design mirror plates for cooking purposes. These mirror plates, facing the sun concentrated the power of the sun toward the cooking utensils. This will produce a certain amount of heat needed to cook. This technology was also used according to history to heat up an oven. This heat was hot enough to melt metals. An innovation that was used for ages and is still been used today is the concept of the sunroom. This is usually a room in the building were huge mirrors windows were positioned to concentrate the sun heat to the room. All of these concepts and methods of tapping solar energy show to us that solar energy can be used for multiple purposes. This spurred the continuous research work along that line.
Types of solar panels:
Many years later, it was discovered that the sun could actually provide us with electricity. This is as a result of the discovery of the Photovoltaic effect (PV effect) which is the production of electricity by placing two metal electrodes in a conducting solution. The idea was then used in the development of selenium. Selenium is the first element used in the production of solar panels. This is because selenium produces electricity when exposed to sunlight. This idea was then used to produce the very first set of solar cells produced from selenium wafers. Today, solar panels are produced out of silicon because it is a very durable element and it is in abundance. The general idea is the same as when selenium was used. Using silicon, the solar panel production endeavor has evolved in so many ways.
We now have the solar panels in two major types which are:
- Monocrystalline solar panels (mono) and
- Polycrystalline solar panels (poly)
Solar panels are a modern-day invention which, away from the use of mirrors, is the medium of converting solar energy into electricity. Both the mono and poly solar panels perform the same purpose. They take the sunlight energy and convert a portion of it into electricity. Many solar manufacturers of solar panels produce two types. The difference between the two lies in the way by which the silicon in them is arranged. In the mono panels, the silicon is arranged in bars while in the poly panels, the silicon is melted and arranged into fragments. Both can be a good choice for your home or commercial building. However, there are certain features that differentiate the two types of technology and these can serve as an instrument in making your decision. You, therefore, need to understand these differences before you make your final decision.
Difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels:
The mono panel is usually thought to be the premium solar product. They have higher efficiency and more sleek aesthetics. They are more efficient than poly solar panels. Though they can be expensive, however, their rate of efficiency covers up for this deficiency. They look black in color. They have the general characteristic of a long lifespan of about 25 years and above.
The poly panels, on the other hand, generally have a lower efficiency than the mono panels. This means that the rate of conversion of sunlight to electricity is low compared to mono panels. They, however, are sold for less. The lifespan for a mono panel stands at 25 years and above. The blue hue is the signature color for poly panels.
Comparing Mono-crystalline and Polycrystalline solar panels:
The question of which of the two are best and which should be chosen remains open. This is because of certain factors that are consequential to choosing any of the two major solar panel designs. Your choice of any of the two should be based on a personal decision, the quantity of space available, and the financing options available to you.
- Personal choice: two things can influence your personal choice. One is the color of the panel. Since both panels appear differently on the rooftop. Mono panels appear looking black on the roof while poly panels appear looking blue in color. Whichever one you prefer will influence your choice. Secondly, the place where the panel is manufactured matters more for some people. Some prefer panels that are locally made for reasons best known to them.
- Space available: panels with high-efficiency rate will cover a lesser quantity of space. This is because a single panel is not enough to power your building; you will need to combine panels in multiples. The quantity of electricity you need to power your building will determine the number of panels you need to combine. Using a panel with high-efficiency rate means you will need a fewer numbers of panels to reach electricity generation goals. You will need more panels that have a lower-efficiency rate. The number of panels you need to combine will translate to the quantity of space you need. If you have limited space then you might want to consider using panels with a high-efficiency rating.
- Financing options: the cost of installing a solar system can be expensive. This is because of the cost of solar panels. And, you have to purchase them in multiple numbers depending on what you need. If you have enough financial capacity or financial support, you might want to go for the mono panel which is more expensive. Otherwise, you will have to go to the poly panels. But remember, poly panels are less efficient which means, given the same condition, you need to combine them in more numbers than mono panels in other to make up the lack in efficiency.
It is recommended that you explore your options with both the mono and poly panels in other to make the most appropriate decision.