Monocrystalline vs. Polycrystalline Panels

Project Solar uses monocrystalline panels rather than polycrystalline panels for our systems. Monocrystalline panels are usually darker in hue and generally produce power more efficiently.
Most solar panels fall into one of two categories: monocrystalline or polycrystalline. 

Residential solar systems usually include monocrystalline panels rather than polycrystalline, and Project Solar follows this trend: we only offer black-on-black, monocrystalline panels.

To understand why, it’s important to know what separates the two.

Differences Between Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline Panels

Solar panels are made up of solar cells, which absorb energy from sunlight and create an electrical charge. These cells are largely made of silicon, a crystalline metalloid.

Both polycrystalline and monocrystalline cells are made of silicon, but monocrystalline cells use a single silicon crystal.

This allows them to be dark and pure in color, with a sleek, uniform appearance. Usually, this translates to an all-black solar cell, unless the back sheet of the panel (behind the glass) is tinted with a different color.

Polycrystalline cells, on the other hand, use melted blends from multiple crystals. This process makes them easily distinguished by their bluish hue, and looking closely at them will reveal their multi-crystal structure.


Monocrystalline Panels vs. Polycrystalline Panels - Aesthetics 

Why Does It Matter?

These differences in structure also translate to a difference in energy production:

Because solar cells made of polycrystalline silicon include multiple melted fragments, electrons have less room to move, and therefore less electricity is produced. Monocrystalline cells allow for more electron movement, and can generate more power due to their pure structure.

Think of the difference between an unbroken glass pane and a pane made up of shattered fragments of glass: the shattered glass will still allow light to pass through, but it will be more refracted and dispersed. It’s much easier to see through the first pane.

Monocrystalline panels truly shine (no pun intended) in lower-light conditions--particularly when the sun is lower in the sky during the winter months, or when it's rising/setting. Polycrystalline panels cannot produce as efficiently in these conditions.

For all these reasons, we do not recommend or offer polycrystalline panels. Our panels are black-on-black, monocrystalline, and Tier 1 rated; see our full equipment list here: Project Solar Equipment Specifications
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