One steaming pile of Solar BS that you hear all the time from worst sales people in this industry – who will feed you any line to get a sale – is that polycrystalline panels are better than monocrystalline solar panels, or vice versa.
In this video I finally get off my chest why you should avoid anyone spouting such drivel:
Transcript is here if you don’t like listening to angry, sweary solar geeks:
Hi! I’m Finn Peacock. Here’s a sticky question, what’s the difference between the three major solar panel technologies; that is mono-crystalline, multi-crystalline or poly-crystalline (same thing) and the wild card: thin film solar.
Let’s start with mono-crystalline and multi-crystalline, it’s an easy answer, there’s no difference! I say that because I get emails all the time, “oh this solar sales guy that sells mono-crystalline solar panels, he tells me that multi-crystalline solar panels are crap.” And I hear exactly the opposite from the guys that sell multi-crystalline solar panels they say, “oh this is better for Aussie conditions, that’s better for Aussie conditions”, pure bullshit!
Ten years ago, this might have been true, I won’t go into details, but solar panel technologies have come on. A good mono-crystalline solar panel and a good multi-crystalline solar panel – to all practical purposes – perform identically, so don’t get hung up over mono or multi, mono or poly. Just get a good brand of solar panel, okay.
Where there is a difference between solar panel technologies is thin film solar, thin film solar is a completely different way of making solar panels and I’m not a big fan of them, I’ve got to say. For a start, they have half the efficiency, which means that they take up twice as much space on your roof, so you need a huge roof to get any decent size solar system. One of the advantages that people claim for them is that they’re shade tolerant – that winds me up. There is no such thing as a shade tolerant and solar panel! If you have a solar panel and it’s in shade, I don’t care what technology there is, you ain’t gonna get any electricity because there’s no sun shining on it.
What they are trying to get at is it’s more tolerant to partial shade. So, if you cover 40% of a thin film solar panel with shade, you get a proportional power hit, so you’ll lose 40% of your power. If you cover 40% of a mono-crystalline or poly-crystalline solar panel with shade, you probably lose almost all the power of that solar panel. But you got to ask yourself, why you’re installing a solar panel in an area that gets some of shade anyway? That’s insane, you’re gonna take a massive hit to your power.
So yes, thin film solar panels are more tolerant in partial shade, but I still think they are a waste of time! And I get into trouble for saying that!
If you want to read my other thoughts on thin film solar panels and the problems with them, there’s a blog post there where I give them really good bagging.
But in practical terms the difference between the main technologies: mono-crystalline, multi-crystalline, there’s no difference.