Mono vs Mono-PERC Solar Modules
Monocrystalline solar panels have long been considered the better alternative to polycrystalline solar panels. However, monocrystalline panels (often just called mono panels) come in a few different varieties, and it’s important to understand the differences between traditional mono panels and the subsets available. A mono-PERC panel is one subcategory of mono panels on the market. What are mono-PERC panels, how do they differ, and are they even better than traditional mono solar modules? Keep reading to find out.
Defining Mono and Mono-PERC
First, it’s important to understand what these terms mean. Monocrystalline solar panels have cells made up of a single (mono) silicone crystal. Silicon wafers are formed by making very thin slices of silicon boules or ingots, and these cells are much more efficient than those made from multiple (poly) crystals.
A mono-PERC panel also has a single cell of silicone but also contains a passivated layer in the rear of the cell. The PERC portion of this module’s name stands for passivated emitter and rear cell, referencing that extra layer added to the back of the solar panels.
The Purpose of the Passivated Layer
So, why add that extra layer to mono-PERC panels? Not all sunlight that strikes a solar panel is immediately collected. Some will be absorbed, while some are reflected, and other rays simply pass through. The light that passes through in a standard mono panel is simply lost. However, when the passivated layer is added to create a mon-PERC module, that layer can reflect back the photons that initially bypassed the photovoltaic cells. The addition of the passivated layer allows for increased efficiency and production in the same size of solar panels.
Which is Better?
Ultimately, whether a traditional monocrystalline panel or a mono-PERC panel is best will come down to your priorities. Here are a few important comparison points to keep in mind when making this decision:
- Efficiency – As already mentioned, mono-PERC panels are more efficient than traditional mono cells, as they can absorb more sunlight.
- Cost – Traditional mono panels will cost less upfront than mono-PERC modules if you’re on a tight budget. However, mono-PERC panels tend to provide a lower cost per watt over time due to their higher efficiency.
- Space – If you have limited space, mono-PERC panels can provide more energy with fewer panels than traditional modules.
In general, mono-PERC solar modules are the better investment unless you have to stick to a tight budget with your system’s design. If you need further guidance on selecting the right panels, speak to a solar power expert.