Monocrys­talline vs poly­crys­talline so­lar pan­els

Costa Levante News - - PROPERTY -

When it comes to choos­ing the most suit­able pho­to­voltaic mod­ules for a project, I am faced with count­less choices in terms of qual­ity, per­for­mance and price. As with most things in life, I do try to get the best deals for our clients, of­ten sac­ri­fic­ing per­for­mance for a com­pet­i­tive price. How­ever try­ing to keep costs low is un­der­stand­able, but sac­ri­fic­ing per­for­mance over price can se­verely af­fect a project. That is why I have cre­ated this little guide to help you nav­i­gate the sea of in­for­ma­tion re­lated to so­lar pan­els. In this ar­ti­cle, I aim to in­form you about the dif­fer­ences be­tween monocrys­talline mod­ules and poly­crys­talline mod­ules. pan­els are the old­est and most de­vel­oped sys­tem to date. As the name im­plies, they are made from a sin­gle crys­tal of pure sil­i­con. Man­u­fac­tur­ers use the Czochral­ski method to slowly pull a sin­gle crys­tal seed of molten monocrys­talline sil­i­con and form an in­got. A crys­tal seed is a small piece of sil­i­cone that is used as the base for molten mol­e­cules. By pro­vid­ing the proper in­fra­struc­ture, the molten mol­e­cules can be con­nected to form an in­got. While the seed is be­ing pre­pared, the tem­per­a­ture is grad­u­ally low­ered to help form a cylin­dri­cal shape.

Monocrys­talline mod­ules can be rec­og­nized by their uni­form colour and ap­pear­ance, which in­di­cate the high pu­rity of the sil­i­con. Poly­crys­talline so­lar pan­els are made up of mul­ti­ple crys­tals. In­stead of go­ing through a slow and very ex­pen­sive process of cre­at­ing a sin­gle crys­tal, man­u­fac­tur­ers sim­ply put a crys­tal seed into a molten sil­i­con mould and al­low it to cool. Be­cause of this cast­ing method, the crys­tal sur­round­ing the seed is not uni­form and grows in mul­ti­ple small crys­tals. The dif­fer­ences be­tween the monocrys­talline mod­ules and the poly­crys­talline mod­ules de­rive from their cre­ation process. Mono so­lar pan­els are made from a sin­gle crys­tal seed, ei­ther in na­ture or cre­ated in a lab­o­ra­tory. As a re­sult, they look more uni­form and softer than poly­crys­talline mod­ules. Poly so­lar mod­ules, on the other hand, are cre­ated from blocks of crys­tals that give the mod­ule a metal scal­ing ef­fect. Ob­vi­ously the larger and purer the crys­tal, the more ef­fi­cient the so­lar cells. As a re­sult, monocrys­talline mod­ules are about 10-15% more en­ergy ef­fi­cient than their poly coun­ter­parts.

On the other hand, poly­crys­talline mod­ules were of­ten con­sid­ered in­fe­rior to mono so­lar pan­els be­cause they are less ef­fi­cient. But, here's the catch: be­cause of the cheaper process, it costs about 20% less to cre­ate so­lar mod­ules with monocrys­talline struc­tures. More than that, poly mod­ules have been steadily im­prov­ing their per­for­mance in re­cent years, push­ing the stan­dard to greater lim­its.

Con­tin­ues next week Bri­tish and Span­ish qual­i­fied Ar­chi­tect

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