What You Need to Know About Polycrystalline Solar Panels
What are polycrystalline solar panels? What distinguishes polycrystalline solar panels from monocrystalline solar panels? When is it advantageous, to use polycrystalline solar panels in a solar PV system?
Polycrystalline solar panels are so far the most used type. This is due in particular to their very good price/performance ratio.
They are less expensive than the monocrystalline solar panels, but they have a higher level of efficiency than the thin film modules. Besides, they are very strong and less sensitive to environmental conditions.
Efficiency of polycrystalline solar panels
The non-homogeneous crystal structure influences the effectiveness of these modules. On average, the efficiency level of polycrystalline solar panels is between 14 and 18% and therefore less than of monocrystalline solar panels but higher than of thin film modules.
Because the polycrystalline solar panels are less complex in the manufacturing than the monocrystalline solar panels and therefore cheaper and have higher efficiency level than thin film modules, their worldwide market share is currently the highest.
In addition, its environmental balance is better than of the monocrystalline solar panels, because they require less energy and raw materials during the manufacturing and produce less waste.
Polycrystalline solar panels have bluish color but to some extent are available in black.
Temperature and light behavior of polycrystalline solar panels
With regard to its temperature and light behavior, polycrystalline solar panels vary only slightly from the monocrystalline solar panels. Even high ambient temperatures, as well as weak or diffuse lighting conditions, can affect the performance of the modules.
The absence of optimal lighting conditions leads to losses in performance of polycrystalline solar panels. In order to overcome this difficulty, the right place must be chosen for the solar panels to be installed. Namely, these modules should point as much as possible to the south.
Installation and maintenance of polycrystalline solar panels
Polycrystalline solar panels can be easily and without great effort installed on the mounting system. They are suitable for use in solar parks.
Its maintenance effort is low. Decisive for its application is the question, which climatic conditions prevail and which performance should be achieved with the solar PV system.
Polycrystalline solar panels on flat roofs and open spaces
Because of its slightly lower efficiency and of its lower price as well as of their lower maintenance costs, polycrystalline solar panels are usually used on large roofs and in solar parks.
Compared to monocrystalline solar panels, the slightly lower efficiency of polycrystalline solar panels is compensated by the fact that, at the same cost like monocrystalline modules more polycrystalline solar panels can be installed.
Aging and degradation of polycrystalline solar panels
The age-related solar degradation, this means wearing and aging phenomena are low.
Polycrystalline solar panels are extremely strong and have a very long lifetime. This is the reason why manufacturers guarantee the minimum performance of their modules for 25 to 30 years.
Advantages and disadvantages of polycrystalline solar panels
Except for slightly lower efficiency, the performance of polycrystalline solar panels is equal than of monocrystalline modules.
They also have a long life expectancy und are easy to install. They are cheaper than monocrystalline modules and have better environmental balance.
Besides, they are suitable for use on large roofs and in solar parks, wherefore their use in these places is recommended. However, it must be ensured that the orientation of these modules is optimal.
|Very good price/performance ratio||Lower level of efficiency compared to monocrystalline modules|
|High quality of modules||High space requirement|
|Long lifetime, strong|
|Middle to high level of efficiency|
|are suitable for medium-scale roof and solar parks|
To know more about the most important differences between monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film solar panels see this article.