There is a wide range of solar panel systems available in the market from many different manufacturers. All solar panels are not the same. There are several differences between them but what really matters is the total amount of power that each model produces. In certain cases, it does not really matter if you choose to install a poly, mono, thin film or hybrid panel, if the amount of energy they produce is almost the same.
Monocrystalline panels are mostly suitable for extremely shiny areas. This is because the solar cells in monocrystalline panels are cut from pure drawn crystalline silicon bars and aligned all in the same direction, making it easier for the sun to shine one them. Mono panels are smaller in size than poly panels of the same power and there is also unused space in the corners as the panels are made by pure octagonal cells. Mono-crystalline panels are usually more expensive than polycrystalline panels.
Polycrsytalline Panels (Multicrystalline)
Polycrystalline panels are recommended for areas with less sunshine as the cell alignment is not that perfect. This is also what makes them probably very suitable for the United Kingdom. While monocrystalline panels are cut from pure drawn crystalline silicon bars, polycrystalline panels are made from the silicon offcuts, which are moulded to form blocks and create a cell made up of several bits of pure crystal. They also look a little bluer, as they reflect some of the light and the little diamonds are not visible as with mono or hybrid panels. They cost almost the same as monocrystalline.
Hybrid panels are mostly manufactured by Panasonic and they are considered very effective. They are constructed using a thin layer of amorphous solar film behind the monocrystalline cells, which extracts additional energy from the available sunlight. Hybrid panels can produce energy even at very low light conditions which makes them very efficient. One other benefit is that they take significantly less space on the roof. Hybrid panels cost lot more than mono or poly-crystalline panels. In general hybrid panels are not recommended for houses with large roofs as the energy they produce does not justify the additional expenses.
Black Frames and Black Backed Panels
Even though black frames have become very popular in the UK market, they are not highly recommended. Black panels are offered with a black frame and also a black backing behind the cells, instead of the transitional one. While they may look better, black absorbs the light and heat from the sun, resulting into less heat being reflected back onto the cells by the backing material. One other issue is that their performance is lower because the cells temperature is always higher. If your really care about the appearance of your property, it is recommended to simply use a panel with a black frame, but still keep the white backing material.