Solar panels have been in demand due to their clean energy source and efficiency. They are also a good way to save on your utility bills in the long run. By the way, do you have a solar panel? Which one do you have, poly, mono, or thin film? Yes, there are different types of solar panels based on their efficiency, and today you will learn about what is Monocrystalline solar panel. Not only this, but you will also get to know about its advantages, specifications, disadvantages, wattage, and efficiency, along with many other things. If you are planning on getting one, would you not like to know how long do Monocrystalline panels last?
What are Solar Panels?
Photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electrical energy are known as solar panels. Solar panels are connected to inverters and solar charge controllers along with a battery bank. You already know that the extra power generated by solar panels is stored in the battery bank that powers the appliances at night. The inverter converts and supplies the current to power the appliances. The charge controller maintains the voltage supplied to the inverter and prevents it from getting over or being discharged.
Solar panels are basically of 4 types, namely monocrystalline, polycrystalline, amorphous, and thin-film panels. Among these here you will get to know about Monocrystalline solar panels.
What is Monocrystalline Solar Panel?
The type of solar panel made from monocrystalline solar cells is known as a monocrystalline solar panel. The cylindrical silicon ingot generated from high-quality single-crystal silicon is the reason behind its name. More space is available for electrons to move freely, thus providing a better flow of electricity. This is possible because of the single crystal. The wafer-like appearance of the cells is due to the cylindrical slicing of the ingot. Ingots are (materials that are cast into various shapes to enable further processing of solar products).
Further, to increase the utility of cells to the max, these circular wafers are wire-cut into octagonal-shaped wafers. Due to their octagonal shape, these cells have a uniform color.
1. Construction of Monocrystalline Solar Panels
The single silicon crystal is formed through the Czochralski method. The seed crystal is placed at a high temperature into a vat of pure silicon (molten). As the molten silicon forms around the seed, it is picked up thus creating only 1 crystal. A large ingot or crystal is obtained which is then sliced into thin wafers to make solar cells. Based on their size, a single Monocrystalline panel may contain 60-72 solar cells, among which the most commonly used residential panel is a 60-cell Monocrystalline solar panel.
2. Working Principle
The solar energy absorbed by the cells creates an electric field. Voltage and current are the main components of this electric field. These components then generate power as per the following equation:
Power (P) = voltage (V) * current (I)
This current is used for powering devices and appliances working on direct current (DC). You can use devices running on Alternative Current (AC) too by attaching an inverter to the solar panels. An inverter will convert the direct current into an alternating current for powering such devices.
Monocrystalline solar panels have the following features or characteristics which you must know after you have learned what is Monocrystalline solar panel.
- A larger surface area is provided to these solar panels due to their pyramid pattern.
- The top surface of monocrystalline solar panels is diffused with phosphorus. This creates an electrically negative orientation on the top of the panel.
- The bottom surface of the panel has a positive electrical orientation and together the top and bottom work in creating the electrical field.
- These panels have a coating of silicon nitride that is best to reduce reflection and increase absorption.
- Metal conductors are printed on the Monocrystalline solar cells and due to these, the generated electricity is collected.
4. Application of Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Being highly efficient, these solar panels have different applications, as below.
- Used in solar power systems for rooftops in urban and rural areas.
- The small Monocrystalline panels can generate 5 to 25 watts of electricity. It is sufficient to charge your phone, laptop, and cameras.
- They are recommended for large-scale solar power systems like on vests of tracts of uncultivable land.
- Panels can generate 40 to 130 watts that are used for powering refrigerators and ovens.
- To power rural homes these panels are formed into arrays.
- Used for lighting system in the garden.
- The Monocrystalline panels work best as stand-alone panels for street lighting.
Also See: How Many Solar Panels and Batteries to Power a House
Monocrystalline Solar Panel Specifications
The general specifications of Monocrystalline solar panels are:
|Approximate weight||4.62 lb. (2.1 kilograms)|
|Current at maximum power||2.76 A|
|Dimension (length*breadth*height)||670*540*30 millimeters|
|Internal resistance||Approximate 23 m Ω|
|Max discharge current||105 A (5s)|
|Maximum power||50 Wp|
|Nominal capacity (20 hours)||7 Ah|
|Nominal voltage||12 V|
|Open circuit voltage||22.1 V|
|Operating temperature range||-40~85° Celsius|
|Power tolerance (positive)||+3%|
|Rated capacity||7.00Ah/0.350A (20h, 1.8V/cell, 25° Celsius)
6.51Ah/0.651A (10h, 1.8V/cell, 25° Celsius)
5.95Ah/1.190A (5h, 1.75V/cell, 25° Celsius)
5.37Ah/1.790A (3h, 1.75V/cell, 25° Celsius)
4.40Ah/4.400A (1h, 1.6V/cell, 25° Celsius)
|Short circuit current||2.64 A|
|Temperature coefficient of Isc||0.06% / ° Celsius|
|Temperature coefficient of Pmax||-0.4% / ° Celsius|
|Temperature coefficient of Voc||-0.35% / ° Celsius|
|Type||Valve-regulated lead acid|
|The voltage at maximum power||18.1 V|
Also Read: How to Test a Solar Panel Without a Multimeter?
Monocrystalline Solar Panel Efficiency
After seeing monocrystalline solar panel specifications, you should also learn about monocrystalline solar panel efficiency. Once you understand what is Monocrystalline solar panel is, why not learn about its efficiency? In terms of efficiency, monocrystalline solar panels are on the top. These panels are the most efficient with an 18% to 20% rating. The efficiency rating means from 100% of the sunlight falling on the panels only about 18 to 20% is absorbed and converted into electricity. The range of efficiency may vary among different manufacturers. The overall efficiency of solar panels declines by 1% every year. After this, let’s explore monocrystalline solar panel size.
Monocrystalline Solar Panel Size
Now that you know about monocrystalline solar panel efficiency, you might as well explore monocrystalline solar panel size. There are different sizes available for all types of solar panels. But the size depends on the number of cells because a solar panel is made by the parallel arrangement of a series of connected solar cells. A small 5-watt solar panel takes up space of less than 1 square foot. The standard size of a solar cell is 6 by 6 inches (156 * 156 millimeters).
- A 60-cell solar panel consists of 6 rows with 6 cells in width and 10 cells in length.
- A 72-cell solar panel consists of 6 rows with 6 cells in width and 12 cells in length.
Therefore, the size is
- 60-cell solar panel 39 inches * 66 inches (3.25 feet*5.5 feet)
- 72-cell solar panel 39 inches * 77 inches (3.25 feet*5.42 feet)
Also See: Portable Solar Panel Stand
Size of a Monocrystalline Solar Array
The number of panels to be used in an array is determined by the wattage of the solar panels. Here is a list of 60- cell and 72-cell solar panels at different wattages and the number of panels used in them.
Note: The overall calculation is based on developing a 6.5 kW (6500-watt) solar power system to power an average American household energy requirement.
- 60- cell 6500W/315W = 20.6 (21 panels)
- 60- cell 6500W/285W = 22.8 (23 panels)
- 72- cell 6500W/375W = 17.3 (18 panels)
- 72- cell 6500W/340W = 19.1 (20 panels)
Therefore, what is Monocrystalline solar panel in size is an average size range between 18 and 23 panels.
Advantages of Monocrystalline Solar Panel
You already know that it is these solar panels are the best among all but here are a few advantages of monocrystalline-
- The highest efficiency level was ranging between 17%-22%.
- You will get a 25-year warranty on the panels. These panels tend to last longer than other panels.
- The heat resistance of monocrystalline panels is higher.
- The space required for setting up these panels is considerably less due to their high efficiency.
- They are ideal for cloudy areas because they tend to perform best in low sunlight intensity.
Disadvantages of Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Despite being the most efficient among all types of solar panels, monocrystalline panels do have some disadvantages and limitations. The disadvantages of monocrystalline solar panels are as follows-
- These solar panels are the most expensive.
- The formation of monocrystalline panels results in a lot of waste due to its one-cut procedure.
- High temperature affects the performance levels of Monocrystalline solar panels.
Monocrystalline Solar Panel Wattage
Due to their single-crystal construction, monocrystalline solar panels have the highest power capacity. Mostly these panels have a power capacity of up to 300w. A 60-cell Monocrystalline solar panel produces 310W-350W on average. This should have explained monocrystalline solar panel wattage.
How Long Do Monocrystalline Panels Last?
After learning about monocrystalline solar panel wattage, you must also be curious about how long do monocrystalline panels last. The average lifespan of a Monocrystalline solar panel is between 25 and 30 years, sometimes more than 50 years when maintained properly. Whereas a polycrystalline panel lasts for up to 25 years and thin-film panels last for about 10–20 years. However, their lifespan can be affected by the following:
- Poor installation or Manner of installation
- Faulty racking system
- Exposed wires
- Physical damage due to extreme weather conditions
- How regularly the panels are used
- Number of time and quality of maintenance received by the panels
- Overall environment
Note: you can determine that the efficiency and lifespan of a solar panel are declining when the light and electricity production is less than usual.
Also Read: Solar Panel Removal and Reinstall Process
Ways to Increase Lifespan of Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Why not learn ways to make a good solar panel after you learn what is Monocrystalline solar panel? Installing a solar power system is a one-time investment with lifelong benefits. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain the quality of these panels. Follow these steps to keep your solar panels efficient for longer periods.
1. Regular Inspections: To detect a problem early and get it fixed is a major thing. This comes into view only with regular inspections.
2. Clean Panels: Absorption and conversion take place through panels and if the panels are covered with dust, snow, or water, the productivity may decline. Well, even bird droppings are not good. Your panel could be damaged by water stored in its rim or the debris on the panels. Therefore, you need to clean the panels once every couple of months.
3. Battery Backup: Heavy electrical loads stress the solar panels and over-stress is also a cause of damage and reduced lifespan. Thus, installing a battery bank is a good option. It works like a power storage device that reduces the stress from the panels.
So, what is Monocrystalline solar panel? The answer to this is the black pyramid appearance of solar panels with the highest efficiency and longest lifespan. Which point is most influential to you in terms of a monocrystalline solar panel? Based on Monocrystalline solar panel specifications, you can power a variety of appliances at your home. How long do Monocrystalline panels last? The time span is the longest, about 30 to 50 years, but it depends on how you care for your solar panels.
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