All of the kinds of panel are made from the same substance (silicon) but are all cut and treated differently to get to the end result and as such, they all have different levels of efficiency and price. For example, monocrystalline cells are often found to be around 2-6% more efficient than polycrystalline cells, however come with a higher price. Hybrid cells combine crystalline and thin film cells together and are more efficient than mono or polycrystalline cells, but again with a higher level of efficiency comes a higher price. Lastly, thin film cells are rarely seen in residential projects and are the cheapest available PV panel, but in line with this they are the least efficient. You can also have solar tiles or solar slates installed and these match the same overlapping installation of ordinary roof tile, allowing you to have a slightly nicer aesthetic than installing panels on your existing roof.
Before jumping in and buying expensive solar panels though, it’s vital that you take the size of your roof into consideration to maximise the power outpost and cost-effectiveness of a solar PV system. If you have a larger roof, then using the cheaper and less efficient thin film or polycrystalline panels can end up being more cost-effective due to the amount of space that you can cover with them, whereas if you have a smaller roof with limited space then a more expensive monocrystalline or hybrid panel may be best as you can maximise the space you have and get the most out of it.
Before being usable in the home, the energy that will be produced by your solar PV system needs to be converted from its direct current (DC) form in which it is harvested to an alternating current (AC) using an inverter. For ease of use, these are commonly placed with the loft of a home and have isolator switches installed both before and after them in the relay. In addition to this, you will also have a PV generation meter connected so that you can see in real time exactly how much energy and electricity your system is generating. This is also used to calculate your Feed-in Tariff payment to earn you money in return for being more eco-friendly and generating your own energy.