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What Are the Differences Between Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline Solar Module?

Solar modules mainly include polycrystalline modules, monocrystalline modules, and thin-film modules. What are the differences between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar modules? Which one is better?

Differences between monocrystalline solar module and polycrystalline solar module

Monocrystalline solar module is made of high-purity single crystal silicon rods and are widely used in the photovoltaic market. It has a higher photoelectric conversion rate and perform better in weak light than similar products. Polycrystalline solar module is made up of polycrystalline solar cells arranged in different series and parallel arrays, and has a higher cost-performance ratio.

The initial materials for monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells are native polycrystalline silicon, which is in a state similar to microcrystals. To have the ability to generate electricity, microcrystalline silicon must be made into crystalline silicon, and the crystal orientation of crystalline silicon must be precisely controlled. The only process that cannot be easily exchanged between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells is crystal growth. In this process, native polycrystalline silicon in a monocrystalline furnace produces a single crystal silicon rod with a single crystal orientation, no grain boundaries, low defect density, and low impurity density. The growth process of polycrystalline crystals itself determines that it cannot grow large-area single crystal-oriented crystals, and the essence of polycrystals is a collection of many small single crystals.

Differences between monocrystalline solar module and polycrystalline solar module

In terms of usage, there is not much difference between monocrystalline solar module and polycrystalline solar module for users, and their service life and stability are both very good. The average conversion efficiency of monocrystalline silicon cells is higher than that of polycrystalline silicon cells, but the current price is also higher than that of polycrystalline. 

Polycrystalline solar cells have fewer production process steps than monocrystalline solar cells, so they consume slightly less energy during the production process, but monocrystalline solar module has higher electricity generation, and the difference in energy consumption is not great when taken into account comprehensively.

Comparison between monocrystalline and polycrystalline:

Monocrystalline solar module was used earlier than polycrystalline solar module. The current situation is that the application of polycrystalline silicon in power stations is far greater than that of monocrystalline silicon, with monocrystalline silicon accounting for 30% and polycrystalline silicon accounting for 70%. The conversion rate of monocrystalline solar module is higher than that of polycrystalline solar module, at around 10% to 20%. The cost of monocrystalline is slightly higher than polycrystalline, with different manufacturers having different costs, and market prices ranging from five cents to one dime per watt. Actual measured data on degradation rates show that monocrystalline and polycrystalline have their own strengths and weaknesses, and degradation rates cannot be distinguished solely from the monocrystalline or polycrystalline perspective. In relative terms, product quality (sealing, impurity content, hidden cracking) has a greater impact on degradation rates.

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