Monocrystalline solar panels
Monocrystalline solar panels are generally thought of as a premium solar product. The main advantages of moncrystalline panels are higher efficiencies and sleeker aesthetics. To make solar cells for monocrystalline solar panels, silicon is formed into bars and cut into wafers. These types of panels are called “monocrystalline” to indicate that the silicon used is single-crystal silicon. Because the cell is composed of a single crystal, the electrons that generate a flow of electricity have more room to move. As a result, monocrystalline panels are more efficient than their polycrystalline counterparts.
Monocrystalline solar panels are first generation solar technology and have been around a long time, providing evidence of their durability and longevity. The technology, installation, performance issues are all understood. Several of the early modules installed in the 1970's are still producing electricity today. Single crystal panels have even withstood the rigors of space travel!
Some other solar websites suggest that single crystalline solar panels can last up to 50 years. According to solar engineers I speak with even though this may be possible, there will be a slight drop off in efficiency of around 0.5% on average per year. So although this type of solar panels can last a long time, there will come a time when the lower efficiency makes it economically desirable to replace the panels especially as the efficiency of newer panels continues to increase.