Advantages and Disadvantages of Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Learn why polycrystalline solar panels are one of the most popular panels used for home powered solar systems. But, what are the disadvantages!

Polycrystalline Solar Panels* Polycrystalline solar cells from Sharp
* High-efficiency provide advanced power output
* Weatherproofed solar cells – tempered glass coverings with durable aluminum frames
* Includes two 123-watt polycrystalline solar panels
* Voltage tester, and a wiring kit
* 30-amp digital charge controller
* 200-watt power inverter
* Mounting accessories
* Solar kit is virtually maintenance-free and easy to install

* 25-year solar panel warranty

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Solar energy is becoming more popular as more and more people pay attention to where their energy is coming from.  In addition, advances in technology are allowing more efficient photovoltaic panels to be produced less expensively.  That makes it easy for almost any home to supplement their grid power sources of electricity with solar energy, provided they are installed in the right location.  Different solar panels use different technologies, polycrystalline solar systems are among the cheapest and most common type of panel out there.  Let’s take a look at some of their benefits and their downsides.

A polycrystalline solar panel module is made from a block of silicon that has multiple crystals.  These panels are square in shape, and may have a surface that looks somewhat like a mosaic.  That’s because of all the different crystals that make up the module.  Other types of panels may appear smooth and even, because they are made up of only silicon crystals.  These are called monocrystalline modules. The third type of panel uses a thin film layer of material otherwise known as amorphous.

Polycrystalline solar modules are less efficient than those made from a single crystal.  However, they are much simpler to produce, and cost far less to manufacture.  This makes them much less expensive for buyers.  The durability and longevity, however, are comparable to their monocrystalline cousins.  Polycrystalline solar panel modules could put solar power into the hands of people who could not afford the monocrystalline cells.

Common brands of panels made up of polycrystalline modules include BP SX (formerly Solarex), Kyocera, and Sharp.  Generally, these panels cost between eight and a half and ten dollars a watt, and have about a twelve to twelve and a half percent conversion efficiency.  That means twelve percent of the energy in the sunlight that strikes these panels is converted into electricity.  A square meter of panel exposed to full, direct sunlight will produce between one hundred twenty and one hundred twenty-five watts of power.

It should be remembered that standard ratings are not always indicative of the conditions in which you will be using your panels.  These panels assume relatively cool climates, and are rated on a standard of twenty-five degrees Celsius (about seventy-seven degrees Fahrenheit).  Panels operating at a higher temperature – fifty degrees Celsius or more – will be a lot less efficient.

That may sound like a lot, but these are dark colored panels in direct sun.  The likelihood of them rising to those temperatures is greater than you think.  Expect the panels to lose somewhere between fourteen and twenty-three percent of their power converting capacity in these conditions.  It should be noted that these standards apply to all solar panels – not just the polycrystalline type.  Anyone working with a solar power system should take temperature into account when working out their costs and design.

Polycrystalline solar panels have pros and cons, but in the end, they can be an inexpensive way to put together a solar power generation system.  They are much less costly than monocrystalline panels and simpler, without having a long list of disadvantages.  See if they’re what your alternative energy system needs or why not try and build a solar panel and see how much you can save.

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5 Comments on Advantages and Disadvantages of Polycrystalline Solar Panels

  1. Farid on Tue, 30th Nov 2010 5:16 pm
  2. hi, I have a project in school for the French BAC the TPE about ecologic houses, and I wan’t to create my own solar panel (for th project) but I need the polycrystalline cellules (only the cellules), I live in Lebanon and I can’t find any shop where I can get them. plz e-mail me on

  3. phil on Sat, 11th Dec 2010 10:57 am
  4. looking to get a 80 or 100 watt panel for my touring caravan depending on price but am now confused which is best poly or mono

  5. Vince Portera on Tue, 21st Dec 2010 10:13 am
  6. Solar panel to be installed on roof facing south in Central Florida, USA 32952

    More efficient to use mono or poly cells?
    What is the best installation angle from the horizontal?

  7. Ian Williams on Sat, 30th Jul 2011 6:03 pm
  8. Is it true that monocrystalline panels work best in direct sunlight, whereas polycrystaline panels excel in diffuse light, i.e. under thin cloud cover?

  9. paul thomas k on Wed, 23rd May 2012 11:58 am
  10. Physical identification of mono crystalline and poly crystalline panels

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