What is the Difference Between Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline Solar Panels
By: Author James Smythe
Posted on 28th August 2023
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I have reviewed a few solar panels now, with two recent reviews being the EcoFlow 100W flexible solar panel and the Allpowers 100W foldable solar panel.
Solar panels work using photovoltaic cells made of silicon, much like most consumer electronics we use. With solar panels, there are generally two types of photovoltaic solar cells that are used, polycrystalline, which the Allpowers panel was made with, and monocrystalline, which the EcoFlow panel used.
For the smaller solar panels, I have been reviewing (rather than the large panels you fit to your home), when you look at product listings, it can be difficult to work out if there is a difference. Most brands make similar claims of efficiency, going from 22% to 25%, and they tend to weigh around the same.
In general, Monocrystalline is regarded as the superior manufacturing process, but on small low-output panels, I am not sure if there would be a significant difference, especially if you look at the cost-to-performance ratio.
This table is based on information provided by EcoFlow, so it may be biased as they use monocrystalline, however, it seems accurate based on what I know.
Here are the main differences between the two:
The monocrystalline photovoltaic solar cell structure is objectively better than polycrystalline and that’s why you will find the big brand names like Jackery and EcoFlow using them.
However, from my testing, it isn’t quite as simple as that when you buy portable foldable solar panels. I found that the Jackery SolarSaga 100 performed the best out of the foldable panels I tested. I tested the Jackery concurrently with the Oystade and Mobisolar monocrystalline panels, but the Oystade achieved almost a 25% lower output than the Jackery, even when I switched the panels into an identical spot on my garage roof.
I then found that the polycrystalline Allpowers performed a little bit better than the Oystade, but not as good as the Jackery.
While 25% is a big difference between the Jackery and Oystade/Mobisolar, that’s only a 20W difference at the peak output, yet the Jackery is £100 more. So, you need to weigh up the cost to benefit-cost ratio for your particular needs.
It also seems like the vast majority or portable solar panels use the monocrystalline design. I would guess the smaller panel size makes it cost-efficient to produce the monocrystalline design. It is the larger home panels where you see many more polycrystalline options.
I am a UK tech blogger and have been in the industry for over 10 years now, running Mighty Gadget and its sister sites and contributing to other sites around the web. I am passionate about all tech, including mobile, wearables, and home automation. I am also a fitness fanatic, so I cover as much fitness tech as possible.
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Last update on 2023-08-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Posted on 28th August 2023
Categories Power Stations & SolarManufacturing Process and AppearanceMonocrystalline panelsPolycrystalline panelsEfficiencyMonocrystalline panelsPolycrystalline panelsCostMonocrystalline panelsPolycrystalline panelsSpace EfficiencyMonocrystalline panelsPolycrystalline panelsTemperature CoefficientLongevity and Warranty