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Solar PV panels may look very similar, however they are not created equal and don’t operate in exactly the same way. There are of course panels which are suitable for on roof installations and in roof as a replacement solution for tiles as well panels which are manufactured differently to deliver a range of efficiencies.
When installing any type of equipment you will find that certain items work more effectively than others and this is the same with solar panels. For example, if the roof area is smaller then more efficient panels are required to maximise output. Similarly, if it is a large solar power installation, then a different, more powerful inverter is required.
Perhaps you have already spoken to someone about solar PV panels and you need to compare the difference between each of the solutions. In reality, there are four main factors that you should consider for your decision making process:
Sustain are confident that the manufacturers we use are reliable and trustworthy to maximise the durability and efficiency of our clients solar PV systems . We use a range of technologies for our solar panels, inverters and other equipment. As a result, our recommendations are based on what we believe to be the best solution for a particular specification.
Ideally, you want to be able to fill your roof with solar panels and generate as much output as possible, but if you have a very large roof on a domestic property you may wish to have fewer panels that are significantly more efficient. This is great if you want a more aesthetically pleasing solution than a roof full of solar panels.
Its most simplistic form, value is determined by a higher return on investment for your solar PV system and as such you may think that cheaper panels are the right solution. However, if you’re planning for the long term, more expensive panels may have a better longevity and deliver more consistent performance in the often changeable UK conditions. More expensive panels may also guarantee a higher efficiency level over the 20 year period of the feed in tariff, thus making them a more sensible investment.
If you’re at all concerned about the aesthetics of solar panels on your property, then you may consider an all-black panel, which many people perceive to be more aesthetically pleasing. These panels are more applicable to slate roofs as they blend in effectively with the dark tiles. In some instances where planning regulations are of particular concern, opting for black panels could help the approval process. In these particular circumstances solar tiles may also be a solution to replace the tiles that are currently on your roof.
In relation to the warranty of solar panels, there are two things to assess. The product warranty details the length of the manufacturer guarantee for workmanship of the panels and it will also show the performance guarantee, which highlights how the performance will decline over the lifetime of the solar pv panel. These warranties vary from one panel to another, so it is worth assessing these details carefully before choosing your solar pv panel.
Which Solar Panel is Best?
There are a range of different solar PV panels available from an ever increasing number of manufacturers. Each claims to have the best solution for one reason or another, with various solar installation companies promoting them in different ways. We are not tied to any one of the manufacturers so we can be flexible with our specifications.
Polycrystalline vs Monocrystalline vs Hybrid
There are certain differences that are worth understanding but ultimately it is the total overall power that makes the biggest difference. A 3kW solar PV system will generate a similar electricity output regardless of whether it is a 3kW polycrystalline, monocrystalline or hybrid solar panel. Often the choice a solar panel is directly related to how much roof space is needed to implement the correct sized solar PV system.
Monocrystalline and polycrystalline will perform in a very similar way in the UK with some variations among manufacturers. While they are more expensive, hybrid solar PV panels are definitely more efficient than crystalline versions, which essentially means they’re capable of generating more power from a smaller surface area.
The latest “All Black” panels are more aesthetically pleasing than standard aluminium framed panels but as they are all-black it means they will get a lot hotter, causing the solar cells to work less efficiently. In the finality you will be paying a premium for these panels while generating less electricity.