Answering the question of which photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are better, monocrystalline (mono) or polycrystalline (poly), is not as simple as it seems. Even though it's a very popular and necessary question that needs to be answered when designing a solar system it's not usually the first question to be asked. To be honest, it's usually one of the last questions to be answered.
There are a few main questions that need to be answered before deciding on whether to go with either mono or poly solar panels. You need to know the amount of space you have to install solar panels, the amount of solar power you wish to produce and the budget you have to work with.
Once you have the answers to these primary questions you still need to know the basic facts between monocrystalline versus polycrystalline solar panels. It can be summed up quickly with the following statements; 1. Mono is more difficult to manufacture and is therefore more expensive than poly; 2. Mono is made from a single silicon wafer and thus produces more electricity per square inch than poly.
Let's take this information and we will go through a couple of scenarios. In the first example we will be installing solar panels on a barn roof with the goal of producing 10kW (kilowatts) under the Ontario MicroFIT program and asked to do this installation as inexpensively as possible. The first factor that stands out is that we have lots of open roof space to produce the amount of electricity required. The second factor is that this particular customer has no request other than to produce 10kW as cost effectively as possible usually expressed as a dollar amount per watt created. Taking all the information we know about this example project would lead us to choose polycrystalline. The logic behind that decision is that even though poly uses up more space to create 10 kW it will work out to be less expensive per watt. Ultimately, roof space was not an issue so poly won this round.
A second scenario depicts a much more confined roof space. In this example we are in a new subdivision where the customer has asked us to produce as much electricity as possible for the Ontario MicroFIT program and to do this using most cost effective strategy. After the guys at York Solar had taken their roof measurements and shade readings it was determined that a 4.5kW system could be installed using polycrystalline panels or a 5kW system could be installed using monocrystalline solar panels. The poly installation would be cheaper to build but would also produce less electricity. So which one do you choose? The factor that stand out with this example is that the customer wants the best cost effective strategy for the Ontario MicroFIT program. The strategy to implement here is the one that creates the highest net revenue over the 20 year contract. After determining revenue projections it was clear that the extra .5kW created by installing monocrystalline solar panels more than covered the extra installation costs. So for this example mono would be the best choice simply because with the limited amount of roof space the panel that created a higher net revenue profit was chosen.
As you can see, the answer to choosing either monocrystalline or polycrystalline will depend on several factors. Every job is different so it's up to York Solar to ask the right questions in order to provide accurate answers to their customers. If you are thinking about how solar energy might benefit you then please feel free to contact us at any time.