When you plan to install a solar system and think about purchasing one, choosing the right solar panels seems to be a daunting task.
It is because the market presents you with a multitude of options that fall into four main categories: poly crystalline silicon panels, monocrystalline panels, thin film, and PERC solar panels.
As if these weren’t confusing enough, your space and budget issues pop up!
When a low budget comes into the picture, most people tend to go with poly crystalline silicon panels. But is it the right choice?
Put all your worries aside because the following guide will help you realise when investing in polycrystalline solar panels is worth the money and when not.
What are Poly Crystalline Silicon Panels?
As the name suggests, a poly crystalline silicon solar panel is composed of multiple silicon crystals. Thus, it is also called a multi-crystalline solar panel.
These panels are made up of silicon fragments that are melted and poured into square moulds. On cooling, they are sliced into thin silicon wafers and assembled to create a polycrystalline silicon solar panel.
You can easily identify these panels by their square-shaped cells with straight edges and shining blue colour.
They find applications in the following fields:
- – They are suitable for roof-mounted solar panel arrays.
- – They can be used in self-powered devices like off-grid households, traffic lights, and more.
- – You can install them in solar farms to harness solar energy and supply electricity to nearby areas.
Important Features of Polycrystalline Solar Panels
You must keep the following pointers in mind when it comes to the properties and features – both good and bad – of poly crystalline silicon solar panels:
- – They are eco-friendly as they do not require individual shaping.
- – They have low heat tolerance. So, at higher temperatures, solar panels can offer lower efficiency. It’s important to protect them from heat, but putting a direct shadow on top of these panels will hamper the electricity production further.
- – They have their structural frame, which makes mounting simpler and cheaper.
- – They’re the only solar panels that make you eligible to avail of a solar subsidy in India.
How Efficient are Poly Crystalline Silicon Solar Panels?
Polycrystalline silicon panels have multiple photovoltaic cells. When the sun’s rays fall on the photovoltaic junction, the polycrystalline silicon cells charge up the electrons and make them pass through the electric current.
A residential polycrystalline solar panel produces 250- 400 W power, sufficient for efficiently running household operations. The efficiency rate is 13% to 15%. Moreover, it provides valuable performance for years.
It must be noted that usage, location of installation, and climatic conditions also contribute to the efficiency of a polycrystalline solar panel.
How Does a Polycrystalline Silicon Solar Panel Compare to Other Solar Panels?
Here is a comparison of the four major types of solar panels. You can easily compare and contrast the options before making your decision.
|Solar Cell Type||Efficiency Rate||Advantages||Disadvantages|
|Mono PERC solar panels||22% to 25%||Most efficientLess space needed||Very expensive|
|Monocrystalline silicon solar panels||16% to 20%||High lifetime valueGreater efficiency||Expensive|
|Poly crystalline silicon solar panels||13% to 15%||Lower priceReasonable EfficiencyLesser wastage||Require more spaceLesser efficiency than monocrystalline panels|
|Thin-film solar panels||7% to 10%||Lowest costFlexible solar panels LightweightLowest cost of installation||Shorter lifespanLesser efficiency|
When Should You Choose Poly Crystalline Solar Panels?
You must choose polycrystalline silicon panels when the budget is your prime concern. Also, it is ideal if you have a sufficient rooftop area and prefer a simpler structure.
One of the primary reasons why a majority of people opt for polycrystalline silicon solar panels is because the government offers subsidies on these panels.
So, if you want to benefit from the government subsidy, polycrystalline panels are the only option. The government offers monetary assistance only when you purchase a solar panel manufactured within India.
Intrigued? Let us read more about the government subsidies on poly crystalline silicon panels.
Government Subsidies For Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Under the state subsidy programme, the Indian government offers up to 40% subsidy on the L1 price to homeowners for residential solar power systems between 1 KW to 3 KW.
Anything above 3 KW and up to 10 KW falls in the subsidy category of 20% of the L1 price.
Recently, PM Narendra Modi launched a new National Solar Portal wherein homeowners can avail of a fixed subsidy.
So, people residing in Indian states that don’t offer a subsidy can visit the portal and apply for a subsidy under the National subsidy scheme.
Are Poly Crystalline Silicon Solar Panels Low in Price?
Yes, they are! These panels are more affordable than monocrystalline and PERC solar panels.
Now a major question arises: why are these panels cheaper? Is it because they have a low material quality?
No, the polycrystalline silicon panels are low in price because their manufacturing process is simpler, unlike PERC solar panels that employ extra layer addition. Also, less silicon is wasted during the entire manufacturing process.
Since these panels need less energy to function, they are cost-effective too. The exact price of a polycrystalline solar panel depends on its capacity and size. Higher will be the price for larger size and capacity.
Pros and Cons of Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Like all solar panels, polycrystalline silicon solar panels have their set of merits and demerits. As a buyer, you must thoroughly go through this section to finalise your choice.
Pros of Poly Crystalline Silicon Solar Panel
- – They are highly sustainable in all climatic conditions.
- – They are cost-effective.
- – They are more affordable.
- – They are better for the environment because it results in less waste.
- – They have high durability and longevity.
Cons of Polycrystalline Silicon Solar Panel
- – The output can be low in low light conditions.
- – They require ample space for installation.
- – Their efficiency is lesser than monocrystalline solar panels.
A polycrystalline silicon solar panel functions in variable weather conditions and is economical.
With the market full of expensive solar panels, these poly crystalline silicon panels urge regular buyers to switch to an eco-friendly energy system.
Not only are they low priced, but the government subsidy makes them a must-buy. These panels conform to all the basic requirements of a solar system and offer high functionality while meeting all the modern safety needs.
If you are planning to go solar and enjoy government assistance, then polycrystalline solar panels are the only option.
Q. How is monocrystalline different from polycrystalline silicon?
Monocrystalline silicon or mono-Si comprises a single continuous crystal, while poly crystalline silicon (multi-Si) has several small crystals.
The production of monocrystalline silicon cells is costlier than poly crystalline silicon cells.
Q. Why is crystalline silicon used for making solar panels?
Crystalline silicon is a good semiconductor that offers high reliability and performance. Hence, it’s most suitable for solar PV panels.
Q. What is the PID resistance technology used in polycrystalline silicon panels?
PID stands for Potential-Induced Degradation. The PID resistance technology offers a safe and steady current in case of power loss due to stray currents caused by climate conditions.