Polycrystalline Solar Panels Prices

Difference of Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline Solar Panels can be easily identified by the coloring of the panels. A crazing paving like structure is visible with uneven color tones, this is caused by the multiple mis-shaped silicon crystals.
Of the main types of solar panels, polycrystalline solar panels are less efficient than other types, such as monocrystalline and amorphous solar panels, however recent developments in solar panel engineering are making these differences negligible. Each solar cell within a polycrystalline solar panel is comprised of multiple silicon crystals, hence the name. The gaps between the silicon crystals leads to a small amount of wasted space where the solar radiation cannot be absorbed by the crystals, and is instead converted into heat energy rather than electrical energy. This also means that during periods of partial shade some crystals can completely stop producing electricity, something which does not happen in other types of solar panel. This loss of power generation may be problematic if the panels are partially shaded during the day. These solar panels also have a lower efficiency at high temperatures when compared with other types of solar panel, although the loss only becomes noticeable at temperatures above 120 Fahrenheit.

Cost of Polycrstalline panels

These drawbacks however are reflected in the price, as polycrystalline solar panels are usually much less expensive than monocrystalline and amorphous panels, this is in part due to the ease of manufacturing the crystals, but also due to the large scale production of the polycrystalline silicon needed to grow the crystals. The difference in cost for the unit greatly outweighs the small loss in efficiency. Pricing for Polycrystalline panels average around - per Watt as of 2011. although this is expected to slowly fall as demand increases. Polycrystalline panels have the same average lifetime as monocrystalline panels at 25 years which is also the standard warranty period, however the panels should continue to produce power for 50 year although at a lower capacity.

Future growth potential

The low cost of polycrystalline solar panels, coupled with their minimal drawbacks versus monocrystalline and amorphous solar panels has lead to their widespread use amongst small scale solar power generation projects, in homes, schools and small businesses. The cost however has not yet reduced to the point where it is dominant in large scale generation projects. However Industry and government subsidies are expected to reduce the costs even further over the next decade.

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