Return to SolarUK's Frequent Questions and Answers page
What is the difference between Mono-crystaline and Poly-crystaline PV Panels
Mono_crystaline Solar PV Panels are better performing per square meter but more expensive to manufacture per square meter than Poly-crystaline panels. See the "how it works" page
Both poly-crystalline and mono-crystalline solar panels are made from the same material, silicon. However the difference is that the poly-crystalline material is made up of millions or billions of small silicon crystals while the mono-crystalline material is actual just that, one large singe crystal of silicon.
Single crystal silicon is more efficient at converting photons to electrons for electricity, the poly-silicon its much less efficient because electrons are captured or generated less efficiently where the crystals of silicon touch. However, even though poly solar panels are not as efficient, they are cheaper to manufacture so they can still be competitive on a $/watt basis. They would just need more area to produce the same amount of electricity as the mono-crystalline panels.