When you start looking in detail at solar energy you will soon come across a difference in terms of whether the panels are MONO or POLY. These terms are confusing at first as often they are not explained and there is an implied knowledge about them that beginners won’t have of course. So we’re going to look at what they are and what the differences are between them here.
What Are “Mono” and “Poly” Solar Modules?
As you’ve probably guessed, these two terms are shorthand for longer words. They are monocrystalline and polycrystalline which, if you’re new to this, probably raises more questions than it answers. What are these crystals about?
To begin to understand this then, the first thing to know is that solar cells are made out of silicon, a semi-conductive crystal. When a solar panel is said to be “monocrystalline” then, it means that it is cut out of a single crystal. When it is “polycrystalline” it means that there are lots of different crystals fused together.
Upon first hearing this it would probably seem as if it would be easier to manufacture them just out of a single crystal, but actually that is not the case. It’s actually easier to make poly solar cells, but you do get some advantages out of mono cells.
Advantages And Disadvantages
Traditionally speaking, mono panels are said to be more difficult to construct (and therefore more expensive) but what you get is a higher efficiency. So if you wanted to go for a cheaper option, accepting less efficiency, you would go for a poly.
By now, however, with improved construction techniques there is actually very little difference between them. Mono’s do still tend to be a little more expensive and a little more efficient, but poly’s are no longer that much less expensive, or that much less efficient.
Amorphous Solar Panels
There is actually another way of producing solar energy though, a different type of solar panel, although it is not used very much because it is significantly less efficient. This is the amorphous, or “thin-film” solar technology. One of its biggest advantages, however, is that it does continue to retain much of its performance in hotter temperatures.
When crystal silicon gets hot, the molecules start to vibrate more and this messes up the whole system of electricity production to some extent. The amorphous technology though, while still using silicon, does not use its crystalline form and so responds better to heat.
Sanyo HIT Panels
The innovative Sanyo HIT panels, however, have managed to combine the best of both worlds. They are mostly made of up crystal silicon, as usual, but that is sandwiched by the amorphous technology. As most of the heat will be absorbed on the surface, and that is where the thin layer of the amorphous solar cell is, this makes for a much more efficient solar panel.
Solar Energy UK Renewables
You can learn more about the solar panels that are available by calling Solar Energy UK Renewables, our expert and friendly staff are available to answer any of your questions. We will also be able to arrange for a free quote for a solar installation by our MCS accredited solar installers.