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~ Updated October 21, 2016

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Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels are the
most efficient solar panels you can buy. As the name suggests, monocrystalline panels are made out of single pure pieces of silicon. They are made from quartz crystals which are melted down under extreme temperatures. The molten silicon is then purified and set into cylindrical ingots of very pure silicon. These are then sliced into flat pieces, phosphorus is added and then they're ready to go. Monocrystalline solar panels are currently the best solar panels you can get, but whatever you do, be sure to educate yourself first about solar technology before you go spending any money.


Monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient solar panels. By definition this means that they convert the highest amount of solar energy into electricity of any panel, both commercial and
domestic solar panels. It is strongly believed that the gross efficiency of any photovoltaic solar panel, be it monocrystalline, polycrystalline or thin film, will never exceed 29%. In fact, the maximum predicted efficiency is actually believed to be around 25% due to factors like conductivity and heat.

The two most efficient solar panels available for sale are from Sanyo and SunPower. The Sanyo HIT Series range, which receives excellent solar panel reviews, offer efficiencies of up to 21.6%.SunPower solar panels offer the highest efficiency rates of up to 22.5% for most of their top of the range solar roof panels. In June 2010 SunPower broke the world record for commercially produced solar cells at 24.2%. However, these cells are currently not available for domestic use. Once you purchase panels you should be aware that the efficiency is expected to drop by an average of 0.5% every year. This rate is higher for thin film and poly panels.

Monocrystalline vs. Thin Film

Monocrystalline are the
best solar panels in situations where space is limited such as inner city apartments or bespoke design homes.

Thin film are the cheapest solar panels initially, however it's important to take into account the lifetime value of the system. It is also widely known that thin film systems are more costly to install as they require more work and materials. This is an important consideration in terms of your overall solar panel cost because even though your cost per watt may be cheaper, you'll need more thin film panels overall, compared to mono panels, which will increase slightly your installation and mounting costs.

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Monocrystalline Solar Panels

In terms of environmental footprint thin film solar cells require less energy to produce than comparable monocrystalline solar panels which makes them more efficient in terms of production. However, some thin film solar cells contain Cadmium which is a heavy metal that is a toxic carcinogen to humans and animals. If not disposed of correctly, these thin film cells could contribute to toxic waste. Mono panels contain no such substances and are not hazardous to the environment in any way.

Monocrystalline vs. Polycrystalline

As with thin film cells, polycrystalline are a hybrid form of
cheap solar panels destined to flood the domestic solar power market. Poly panels are also cheaper to produce and require lower energy input than comparable mono panels. However, they also offer lower efficiencies a shorter life-span than the slightly more expensive mono panels. Here are some points to consider when thinking about which type of solar panels for your home to invest in:

Firstly, if you live in tornado or hurricane prone areas or anywhere else where you're in danger of damaging your panels (falling branches or severe hail stones), be sure to check that your panels will come under your home insurance. Monocrystalline panels are more fragile, so will probably not be the most practical option if you fit into this category.

Secondly, be aware that in extreme temperatures (greater than 115 degrees), you will experience a drop in efficiency between 12-15% from monocrystalline solar panels. In polycrystalline panels this drop will be higher, therefore making mono panels the better option for hotter climates.

Finally, you need to figure out are solar panels worth it overall taking into account your energy needs and long term plans. There have been cases of home owners ripping out their original thin film and polycrystalline systems and replacing them with the more efficient monocrystalline panels to boost the size and output of their system.