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What are Monocrystalline Photovoltaic Cells?

Monocrystalline PV Cells

Efficiency in photovoltaic panels is a very important consideration for property owners seeking solar electricity. As stated by SunPower, a leading solar panel manufacturer: “Efficiency measures the amount of our sun’s energy (photons) that can be turned into electricity (electrons) within a given area; in this case, your roof. Higher efficiency means more energy can be generated in less space, and more energy can mean greater savings and fewer panels on your roof.” One determinant of efficiency is the type of material used to create the photovoltaic cell. Monocrystalline silicon is one of these materials.

How Are Monocrystalline Wafers Made?

First, molten silicon is drawn into a large crystal rod, anywhere from four inches to one foot in diameter. Monocrystalline silicon wafers are made from such large crystals of silicon. Each wafer is therefore a single piece cut from this single crystal. This means that electrons can freely flow from one side of the wafer to the other. That makes monocrystalline silicon the finest form of silicon used industrially, but it also makes it the most expensive. In this case, however, there is a significant benefit, especially for electricity generation.

Since the electrons can move freely in the entire single cell wafer, monocrystalline silicon is more efficient at generating electricity than the other forms of silicon used in the solar panel industry. For this reason, SunPower only uses monocrystalline silicon to manufacture its photovoltaic cells. This is why SunPower solar panels are generally black, since that is the predominant color of monocrystalline silicon.

In future articles, we will examine the other types of silicon used in the solar industry: polycrystalline silicon and amorphous silicon. Although these forms certainly have their uses, they are less efficient when it comes to electricity generation. We will see why their method of manufacture plays a large role their efficiency.

In the meantime, rest assured that Solaron of Sacramento only uses solar panels made by SunPower. We believe in providing our customers with the maximum amount of power from the space they have available for solar panels. Although SunPower solar panels may be more expensive due to their use of superior materials, they also are far more efficient and last much longer. And when Solaron designs systems for using solar energy, we prefer to design energy for life!

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