How Do Monocrystalline Solar Panels Work?

How Do Monocrystalline Solar Panels Work

With efficiencies reaching up to 22%, it’s no wonder why monocrystalline solar panels are the most popularly installed renewable energy module in Australia. However, the question remains: how do monocrystalline solar panels work?

Monocrystalline solar panels convert sunlight into electricity via the photovoltaic effect. They absorb photons that free electrons, generating an electrical current that is transformed into usable electricity.

That being said, this article is going to take you through the world of monocrystalline solar panels. Below is a list of topics I’m going to cover. Tap on any of the bullets if you want to jump sections.

How monocrystalline solar panels work

An infographic that displays a step-by-step guide to how solar panels work.
An illustration that displays a step-by-step process of how solar panels work.

Monocrystalline solar panels work under the same concepts as other types of modules.

First, the panels catch photons from the sun. These photons knock electrons loose from their atoms which, in turn, creates movement that generate DC electricity.

Most of our appliances at home can’t use DC electricity, though. So the panels send it to your system’s inverter where it’s converted to usable AC electricity. Finally, the AC power is sent to a breaker box where it’s distributed throughout your home.

Recommended: The science behind solar panels

If they work the same way, why are monocrystalline solar panels more efficient?

Monocrystalline solar panels have better efficiencies because of their more intricate production.

More specifically, they’re made from a single silicon crystal. This purity means there’s more room for electrons to move around which, ultimately, makes these modules more efficient.

To help you understand this better, though, below is a comparison between monocrystalline cells and polycrystalline — which is another commonly used type of solar panel in Australian homes.

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Monocrystalline VS. polycrystalline solar panels

A comparison of monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels
A visual comparison of monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels


As I said earlier, monocrystalline solar cell panels are more efficient because they’re made from a single crystal. Polycrystalline solar cells, on the other hand, are made from many silicon crystals melted together. This leaves less room for electrons to move around, lowering its efficiency.


Monocrystalline solar panels are more durable and longer lasting than polycrystalline solar panels. Again, this has a lot to do with their manufacturing process.

Because of the high purity of monocrystalline solar cells, they also degrade slower than polycrystalline solar cells.


This one’s subjective but there‘s a distinct difference between the two.

Monocrystalline solar panels are sleek and black. To many, this gives it a cleaner and more streamlined look when installed on most roofs.

Polycrystalline, on the other hand, is blue which makes it stand out more. Some people don’t like that and maybe you don’t, too.

Space efficiency

Monocrystalline requires less space to generate the same amount of electricity compared to its polycrystalline counterpart. This is especially important if you have limited space on your roof for solar power, (or wherever you want to install your solar array).


Monocrystalline solar panels tend to be more expensive compared to polycrystalline panels for several reasons.

For one, they’re more efficient which means they generate more energy. Also, they’re more durable so you get free electricity for more years.

The more complex manufacturing process of monocrystalline solar cells also makes them more pricey. Because they’re made from a single crystal, there’s more waste, leading to a heavier price tag.

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Why are monocrystalline solar panels the best?

Monocrystalline solar panels are considered the best due to their high energy efficiency and space-saving design. They have a longer life expectancy and higher power output, making them more cost-effective in the long run.

How efficient are monocrystalline solar panels?

Research says monocrystalline solar panels are 15-24% efficient. From what we’ve seen installed here in Australia, though, it’s closer to 17-20%.

Should I buy mono or poly solar panels?

Whether it’s monocrystalline or polycrystalline, you should buy what fits your needs and budget. Monocrystalline is more efficient, more durable, and takes up less space, but also more expensive. Poly is slightly less efficient, and doesn’t last as long, but is also the more budget-friendly option.


In a nutshell, monocrystalline solar panels work the same way as other modules but they’re more efficient, last longer, and require less space to produce the same amount of energy.

The downside is that they’re also more expensive.

At the end of the day, what you choose to use for your system is up to you. But if you need help choosing, we can get you 3 FREE quotes from our network of pre-vetted installers.