( By Ans Farooq, Director Solaris Engineering)
Monocrystalline solar energy panels have been the go-to choice for many years. They are among the oldest, most efficient and most dependable ways to produce electricity from the sun.
Each module is made from a single silicon crystal, and is more efficient, though more expensive, than the newer and cheaper Poly crystalline and thin film panel technologies. You can typically recognize them by their color which is typically black or iridescent blue.
- Monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency rates since they are made out of the highest-grade silicon. The efficiency rates of monocrystalline solar panels are typically 15-20%. SunPower produces the highest efficiency solar panels on the U.S. market today.
- Monocrystalline silicon solar panels are space-efficient. Since these solar panels yield the highest power outputs, they also require the least amount of space compared to any other types. Monocrystalline solar panels produce up to four times the amount of electricity as thin-film solar panels.
- Monocrystalline solar panels live the longest. Most solar panel manufacturers put a 25-year warranty on their monocrystalline solar panels.
- Tend to perform better than similarly rated polycrystalline solar panels at low-light conditions.
- Monocrystalline solar panels are the most expensive. From a financial standpoint, a solar panel that is made of polycrystalline silicon (and in some cases thin-film) can be a better choice for some homeowners.
- If the solar panel is partially covered with shade, dirt or snow, the entire circuit can break down.
- The Czochralski process is used to produce monocrystalline silicon. It results in large cylindrical ingots. Four sides are cut out of the ingots to make silicon wafers. A significant amount of the original silicon ends up as waste.
- Monocrystalline solar panels tend to be more efficient in warm weather. Performance suffers as temperature goes up, but less so than polycrystalline solar panels. For most homeowners temperature is not a concern.
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