The Solar Buyer's Guide Series - Solar Panels Checklist

How do you know which panels you should go with?  

There are lots of options, but when determining if a panel is high quality, here is a short checklist of questions you can ask yourself.

Polycrystalline Silicon (Poly) vs. Monocrystalline Silicon (Mono)

This is one clear distinction that can be found between different models of solar panels.  Mono panels are made from higher purity silicon wafers.  Poly solar panels are made from cells composed of different qualities of silicon.  This has a number of implications for the finished product.

Mono when compared with Poly are:

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Cons

  1. Usually is more expensive per watt

Pros

  1. Higher efficiency (more production per square foot)

  2. Better long-life performance

  3. More resilient to high temperatures

  4. More uniform/clean aesthetics

It’s possible to find mono panels competitively priced with polysilicon, and it’s also possible to find poly panels that outperform in specific instances, but these are good general rules for understanding what is or is not a high quality panel.  At this moment, we don’t see a reason to offer polycrystalline panels in nearly any case.

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