Not All Solar Modules Are Alike

There are more than a few phyical characterisitcs to consider before deciding on a type of solar module for your project.

60-cell versus 72-cell panels, ongrid versus offgrid applications, monosilicon versus polysilicon or thin-film. What’s it all mean?

Monosilicon cells, made for a single crystal, cost more to produce, but produce significantly more electricity per square foot than polysilicon cells, which are made from molded molten silicon. Poly modules are cheaper to produce than mono, but have been shown to have significant microfracturing and power leakage issues, which relates to generally higher overall production degradation ratios. Still, they tend to be more efficient than thin film solar cells, at least, which are even cheaper to make, since these rely the application of a thin film of chemicals to glass – thus the name. Thin film is generally only effective for large scale power plants, are still largely experimental, and have been shown to have serious performance drawbacks in certain conditions, like desert heat.