Monocrystalline vs. Polycrystalline Solar Panels: Which Is Better? (2024)

By Jessica Wimmer Updated February 6, 2024

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There are three types of solar panels to choose from when building your system: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film. Monocrystalline and polycrystalline are the most common, as thin-film panels are typically used for small solar power projects.

Whether monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels are better depends on your preferences and energy goals. Our guide compares each type’s cost, life span, efficiency rate, and more to help you determine the best solar panels for your home.



Monocrystalline vs. Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels do the same thing: convert solar energy into electricity to power your home. What’s different is their construction, which results in a variance in appearance, efficiency, life span, and other qualities.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels are designed with a single silicon crystal that’s grown in a lab and formed into a cylinder shape called an ingot. The ingot is cut into thin discs, called silicon wafers, and shaved into an octagonal shape. This design reduces wasted space and allows for more monocrystalline solar cells to fit into the panel. It also gives the electrons more room to move, generating more electricity. This design is overall more efficient, but it’s more expensive to produce. The leftover materials can’t be used, creating waste.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Polycrystalline panels, also known as multicrystalline panels, also use silicon cells. However, they’re made from multiple silicon fragments melted together instead of one crystal. They’re then formed into a cube and cut into thin wafers. The design still reduces wasted space, but the leftover materials can be reused, so there’s no waste. Because of this, the manufacturing process is more cost-effective. The drawback is that polycrystalline solar cells aren’t pure silicon, so they have surface imperfections that make them less efficient than mono solar panels.



How Do Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline Solar Panels Compare?

Here’s how mono and poly solar panels compare at a glance:

FactorMonocrystalline PanelsPolycrystalline Panels





Most expensive

Least expensive

Efficiency rate

15% to 23%

13% to 16%

Life span

25+ years

25+ years

Temperature coefficient

Lower temperature coefficient/more effective when temperature changes

Higher temperature coefficient/less effective when temperature changes


The only visible difference between the two panels is their color. Monocrystalline panels have a black color, while poly panels have more of a blue hue. Some homeowners prefer the look of mono panels because they blend in better with their roof.


Cost can be a make or break factor for many homeowners. Monocrystalline panels are the most expensive type due to their complex production process. However, you may have a shorter return on investment (ROI) and generate more long-term savings because they’re more efficient.

Another positive is that the rest of the equipment you need for your solar panel system—such as inverters, wiring, electrical protections, racking, and labor—is the same price no matter the type of panel you choose. Both types qualify for solar incentives such as the federal solar tax credit to reduce your installation costs.


Monocrystalline panels are the most efficient. Their single-crystal design makes it easier for the highest amount of electricity to move through the panel. Monocrystalline panels can reach an efficiency level over 23%, while most polycrystalline panels don’t make it to 20%.

Life Span

Most solar panel manufacturers include a 25-year warranty for panel performance for both types. Some experts believe there isn’t a difference in life span between the two, while others say monocrystalline solar panels average around five years longer.

Temperature Coefficient

Temperature coefficient refers to how well a solar panel performs in warm temperatures. The higher the temperature coefficient, the more the panel’s power output declines in temperatures outside the peak efficiency range of 59 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Monocrystalline temperatures have a lower temperature coefficient than polycrystalline, meaning they perform better in high temperatures.



Which Type of Solar Panel Is Right for You?

Aside from appearance, the factor that will most likely determine which panel type you should choose is how much of an investment you’re willing to make up-front. Monocrystalline panels are more expensive but more efficient, which means you can see savings on your electricity bills sooner and shorten your payback period, or the amount of time it takes for your system to pay for itself.

Having efficient mono panels also means you may be able to install fewer panels, which could save you money on your total system cost. Furthermore, monocrystalline panels are a better choice if you have a small roof but want big savings.



Our Recommendation

If cost isn’t an issue, we recommend monocrystalline over polycrystalline panels. Monocrystalline panels are more efficient and can make a larger, faster impact on lowering your electricity bills and reducing your reliance on the power grid. See our guide to the most efficient solar panels to help narrow down your search.

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Solar Panel FAQ

Which is better: monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels?

Whether monocrystalline or polycrystalline panels are better is mostly up to personal preference and budget. The biggest differences between monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels are cost and efficiency. Monocrystalline panels cost more because they’re more efficient.

What are the disadvantages of monocrystalline panels?

The only disadvantage of monocrystalline panels is that they’re the most expensive panel type. However, you get higher efficiency for the price due to more advanced cell technology.

What are the disadvantages of polycrystalline panels?

Polycrystalline panels are less efficient than monocrystalline options. Though you’ll pay less up-front, the lower efficiency reduces how much you can save on your energy bills. Polycrystalline panels also have a blue color some homeowners don’t like.

How much more efficient are monocrystalline versus polycrystalline?

Monocrystalline panels can reach a high efficiency level over 23%, while most polycrystalline panels don’t make it to 20%.

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