Solar PV: how to tell the difference between panel types
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 September 2009 at 9:50 am
Solar PV (photovoltaic) panels come in lots of different types - mostly with long and complicated names - so it's not easy to know what the difference is.
Last night I went to an excellent evening organised by the Sid Valley Energy Action Group - a group of enthusiastic volunteers who promote energy efficiency in Sidmouth and the surrounding area. We had a short talk to help us understand more about solar power and how it works, and two local residents told us about the return they get from their solar hot water and solar electricity. That was followed by an opportunity to meet and chat to local installers.
So, thin film PV is the equivalent of a veneer; polycrystalline is the MDF of photovoltaics; monocrystalline can be equated to solid soft wood, and hybrid technology to hard wood. And the prices differ accordingly.
Ultimately, which you choose will depend both on how much money you have to spend and how much roof (or other) space you have to put it on. If you've got lots of room, thin film may be the best solution, but with limited space, you may want to invest in something that generates more per square meter.
PV installers are currently reporting a buzz of interest, thanks to the window of opportunity offered by the feed-in tariff. People who install solar panels at their home before the end of March 2010 will qualify for full feed-in tariff rates of up to 36.5p for every kWh they generate. They will also be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,500.
Photo credit: futureatlas.com
If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.
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