What’s the difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells?

While mono and poly crystalline solar cells have more in common than not, they do have unique differences which affect their performance in certain conditions, overall cost and lifespan. Monocrystalline are considered to be of a higher quality as the silicon is more refined and therefore results in a higher purity. Purity and solar efficiency go hand in hand and lately mono crystalline panels have been achieving groundbreaking ratings of up to 21.5%. Mono crystalline uses more uniformly manufactured and artificially shaped silicon cells to produce higher a higher output. They are also considered to have a longer lifespan, lasting up to 25 years. The downside however is that they are more expensive, and sometimes using more polycrystalline solar panels can produce the same electricity for less or the same amount. Polycrystalline use multiple different, less refined silicon crystals. The visual difference is apparent as polycrystalline cells often look like a complex and organic puzzle piece while mono panels have rectangular, evenly sized and spaced crystals. In general, monocrystalline panels are seen as the better option, as they offer more space efficiency as well as maximising your system's output, however for some people they are simply not a financial option.
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