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19 Mar 2024
Monocrystalline vs polycrystalline solar panels: Which is best for your property?
Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist
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Ever felt dazzled by the world of solar energy? You're not alone! Deciding to go solar is the equivalent of stepping into a brighter, more sustainable future. But, with different solar panels on the market, choosing the right one can feel a tad overwhelming. 


At SpotDif, we're here to shine a light on the solar panel conundrum. Whether it's monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels, we've got the lowdown to help you make an informed decision. And remember, we're always here to help you compare the best deals on solar panels — tailored just for you.


Understanding the basics of solar panels


Dipping your toes into the world of solar energy for the first time? Let's start with the basics. Solar panels might seem like magic, but there's science behind how they turn sunlight into power for your home. Here's a quick dive into how these eco-friendly wonders work. 


In the simplest terms, solar panels convert sunlight into electricity. They're made of solar cells linked together, like pieces in a puzzle, encased in protective materials. The two stars of our show today are monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels. But what sets them apart, and which one is the hero your property needs?


Monocrystalline solar panels


Monocrystalline solar panels are often seen as the gold standard in the solar industry. But what exactly makes them shine? Let's uncover the secrets behind their efficiency and why they might be the stylish power you need to boost your property.


The sleek performer


Monocrystalline panels are the James Bond of solar panels — sleek, efficient, and a tad on the pricey side. Made from single-crystal silicon, they boast a uniform black hue and high-efficiency rates. 


Why? Because their pure silicon structure allows electrons to move more freely, translating to more power per square inch. These panels aren’t just about their good looks — they're durable and boast a long lifespan. However, their premium performance comes with a higher price tag which is important to consider.


Polycrystalline solar panels


If you're eyeing solar energy with a strict budget in mind and you don’t want to skimp on quality, polycrystalline solar panels might just be your match. Let’s explore how these panels offer a balance of performance and affordability.


The cost-effective choice


Enter polycrystalline panels, the trusty sidekick in our solar saga. They're crafted from fragments of silicon melted together, giving them a distinct blue, speckled appearance. While they might not win the efficiency race against their monocrystalline counterparts, they hold their own with a more attractive price point. These panels are perfect for you if you're seeking a budget-friendly entry into solar energy without compromising too much on quality.


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Which is better: Monocrystalline or polycrystalline?


Diving into the heart of the matter, it's finally time to pit monocrystalline against polycrystalline solar panels. Which type wins when it comes to powering your property efficiently and cost-effectively? Let's compare and find out which solar panel type emerges as the hero of your solar saga.


Cost


As you now know, monocrystalline panels are on the pricier side due to their high-efficiency rates and more complex production processes. On average, they cost around £350 per square metre. In contrast, polycrystalline panels are more budget-friendly at approximately £280 per square metre. This price difference is due to the simpler manufacturing process of polycrystalline panels and the use of silicon fragments​​​​.


Installation


Both types of solar panels require professional installation to ensure optimal performance. However, the higher efficiency of monocrystalline panels means you might need fewer panels to meet your energy needs, potentially simplifying the installation process and saving roof space.


Durability


Monocrystalline solar panels tend to have a longer lifespan, ranging from 25 to 40 years. This is due to their single-crystal silicon structure. Polycrystalline panels, while still durable, have a slightly shorter lifespan of 25 to 35 years​​​​.


Savings


Monocrystalline panels offer higher efficiency, between 18% and 24%, translating into more electricity generated per square metre and potentially greater savings in the long run. Polycrystalline panels, with an efficiency of 13% to 16%, may produce less electricity but can still significantly reduce your electricity bills, especially if you have the space to install more panels​​​​.


Efficiency


The efficiency of a solar panel directly affects its power output and, consequently, your money savings. Monocrystalline panels, with efficiencies of up to 24%, are ideal for maximising power in limited spaces. Polycrystalline panels, though less efficient, can still be a cost-effective solution for properties with more available space​​​​.


If your main priority is maximising energy output in a limited space and you're willing to invest more upfront for long-term savings, monocrystalline solar panels are the way to go. 


However, if you're looking for a more affordable entry into solar energy and have ample roof space, polycrystalline panels offer a viable and cost-effective option. Regardless of your choice, both panels have the power to significantly reduce your carbon footprint and electricity bills.


Is monocrystalline or polycrystalline better for a property?


With all this new information in mind, you may be wondering how to effectively weigh up the pros and cons of each model. Unfortunately, the answer to ‘Which is better?’ isn't as straightforward as you might think. It all boils down to what matters most to you. Is it efficiency and space? Monocrystalline panels might be your best bet. Or, are you looking to maximise value while keeping costs down? Then, polycrystalline could be the way to go.


Consider your budget, roof space, and even the aesthetic you're aiming for. Remember, the best choice is the one that aligns with your needs and values. And guess what? You're not in this alone!


Here are some more tips to help you choose between the two:


1. Assess your energy needs


Understanding your household's energy consumption is crucial — no matter which solar panel model you choose.


Review your past year's electricity bills to gauge your average energy usage. This step will help determine the capacity and efficiency required from your solar panel system, influencing whether monocrystalline (higher efficiency) or polycrystalline (cost-effective) panels are more suitable.


2. Conduct a roof evaluation


Not all roofs are created equal. Monocrystalline panels, being more efficient, might be preferable for smaller roofs or those with less optimal sun exposure. For larger roofs with ample space, polycrystalline panels can be a more budget-friendly option without significantly compromising on the energy output.


3. Think of the long-term investment


While monocrystalline panels generally have a higher upfront cost, their greater efficiency can lead to more significant savings over time. Polycrystalline panels offer a lower initial investment but might not provide the same level of efficiency. Weigh the initial cost against potential energy savings and incentives to determine which option offers the best long-term value for your situation.


4. Consider warranty and durability 


Look for solar panels with strong warranties and proven durability from our vetted suppliers. A warranty of 25 years is standard for most high-quality solar panels, which can give you peace of mind regarding your investment.


5. Get in touch with a professional


Before making a final decision, it's wise to consult with a solar energy professional. You can do this easily by filling out our solar panel comparison form, where we will match you with our trusted suppliers.


They can assess your property's specifics, recommend the most suitable type of solar panel, and ensure you're making the most informed decision.


6. Explore solar panel grants and schemes


Many governments offer incentives, rebates, or tax credits for solar panel installations. These can significantly reduce the overall cost and improve the return on investment of your solar panels. Take a look at our Solar Panel Grants and Schemes page for more information.


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Ready to go solar? Let SpotDif help


Choosing between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels is just the beginning of your solar adventure. With SpotDif, comparing solar panel options is a breeze. Hop over to SpotDif to explore a world of possibilities. 


Our team is dedicated to helping you find the perfect solar solution that lights up your property and life, ensuring you get the best solar panel prices, availability, and service providers.


Embarking on a solar journey might seem daunting, but with SpotDif, you've got a friend every step of the way. Get in touch with us today, and let's harness the power of the sun together.

author
Anna Dearden
Home Sector Specialist
Combining in-depth research with an interest in all things home improvement, I aim to keep SpotDif readers up to date with interior design trends, renewable energy options, and more.
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