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Solar Panel Choices: Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline

Solar panels have been a cornerstone of green initiatives since the 1950s, and in 2024, photovoltaic technology continues to improve. Every year new production methods are created and implemented annually in homes and businesses across the UK. 

Two of the most popular panels include monocrystalline and polycrystalline: both manufactured using silicon. This naturally occurring material, found in the earth’s crust, is abundant and has a high conversion efficiency. 

However, the way in which the silicon is grown and shaped can change a panel entirely. The appearance of a solar panel and its efficiency can all depend on how the silicon crystals are extracted and cooled, leading to two distinct kinds of products. 

Join Project Solar as we discover more about monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. Don’t forget to browse our products for more examples of leading solar technologies! 

What are monocrystalline solar panels? 

Monocrystalline solar panels are made primarily of silicon. 

Silicon is formed into bars and cut into wafers, with each wafer containing a single silicon crystal. It’s this single-crystal structure that gives monocrystalline solar panels their characteristically uniform, minimalist appearance.

What are polycrystalline solar panels? 

Polycrystalline solar panels, also known as multi-crystalline or poly-silicon panels, are also made from silicon. Unlike monocrystalline panels, which are made from a single silicon crystal, polycrystalline panels are composed of multiple silicon crystals melted together.

Polycrystalline solar panels are known for their blue, speckled appearance: the result of the light reflecting off the multiple crystals within each cell.

What are the pros of monocrystalline solar panels? 

Monocrystalline solar panels offer benefits like high performance and aesthetic appeal. 

  • Highly efficient

According to The Renewable Energy Hub*, monocrystalline panels have efficiency rates between 15-24%!


  • Space-saving

Monocrystalline panels are typically compact, making them ideal for areas with limited space. 

  • Longevity

These panels have a long lifespan, and at Project Solar, we offer 25-year warranties.

  • Performance in low light

Monocrystalline panels perform well in low-light conditions.

What are the pros of polycrystalline solar panels?

  • Affordability 

Polycrystalline panels are usually cheap due to a simple manufacturing process.

  • Durability 

Similar to monocrystalline, polycrystalline panels can withstand various harsh weather conditions.

  • Environmental friendliness

The manufacturing process of polycrystalline panels uses less silicone.

  • Improving efficiency

While less efficient than monocrystalline panels, technological advancements are steadily improving the efficiency of polycrystalline panels. 

How can monocrystalline panels be used?

Residential applications 

Homes with limited roof space

In areas where homes often have smaller rooftops, monocrystalline panels are an excellent choice due to their impressive efficiencies. Monocrystalline panels allow homeowners to maximise electricity production in a compact area.

Off-grid living

The more compact nature of monocrystalline panels means they may also be of better use for camping, emergency power, and mobile applications. They can help generate power in situations where access to the grid is significantly limited. 

Commercial applications

Corporate buildings 

Businesses aiming to reduce their carbon footprint can leverage the efficiency of monocrystalline panels to support their energy demands.

Retail and hospitality

High-visibility sectors like retail stores and hotels, where brand image is critical, may opt for the sleekness of monocrystalline panels to align with their sustainability goals.

Small business rooftops

Small businesses with limited space for solar installations could benefit from monocrystalline panel’s excellent power output.

How can polycrystalline panels be used? 

Residential applications 

Multi-family units

For apartment buildings or residential complexes with a focus on reducing overall energy costs, polycrystalline panels offer an affordable way to install solar energy systems on a larger scale.

DIY solar projects

Hobbyists and homeowners interested in assembling their own solar power systems may choose polycrystalline panels for their low price point and straightforward installation.

Commercial applications

Industrial and manufacturing facilities

Larger sites such as warehouses and factories, which have extensive roof space and high energy consumption, can use polycrystalline panels to significantly supplement their grid-generated power. 

Agricultural applications

Farms and agricultural businesses can install polycrystalline panels on unused land or rooftops to generate power for irrigation, lighting, and other energy-intensive operations.

Community solar projects

Polycrystalline panels are well-suited for community or cooperative solar projects that aim to provide affordable and sustainable energy to a group of users or a neighbourhood.

Join the Solar Takeover! 

Ultimately, monocrystalline panels are a more cost-effective choice for individual properties looking to invest in solar energy. Polycrystalline panels are more suited to larger-scale, experimental projects where sustainable technologies are being trialled. 

However, each product offers context-dependent benefits for homes and businesses, so choosing the right type will require you to evaluate your current property circumstances, energy needs and budget. 

If you need more information, contact us. As the largest solar panel installers in the UK, we can help you make an informed decision based on our years of experience working with, producing and installing solar technologies.