If you are considering getting solar panels fitted to your home or commercial property, it can be a daunting task! There is a lot of information to get your head around, and some conflicting views, too. There is the choice of panel technology, the green credentials of the manufacturer, efficiency, storage…the list goes on.

Cobolt Blue Energy are your end-to-end project consultants. Since our approach is holistic, we are in a unique position to make recommendations on how to get the best equipment, professionally installed. Here’s our guide to panels, components and installation.

Solar Panel Systems, and how they work

It would be wrong to only think about the panels themselves, even though we normally would use the phrase ‘solar panels’ as a catch-all. Instead, we should be thinking about the system as a whole, since each individual component will have an impact on its efficiency – how much usable energy can be generated. 

The job of a solar system is to maximise the amount of energy that can be generated from sunlight, convert it into usable energy and feed it either into your system or sell it back to the National Grid. Additionally, it is normal these days for systems to give you options to store excess energy.

Here’s what a typical system consists of:

Solar Panels or Tiles

The most obvious and visible part of the system are the panels or tiles that you will be used to seeing on rooftops. Each panel or tile consists of layers of photovoltaic (PV) cells, each capable of converting sunlight into electricity.

Solar panels are the more traditional solution, and tend to be more efficient and less expensive than solar tiles. However, solar tiles are usually thought of as being more attractive to look at. Also, since tiles form part of the roof itself, rather than being mounted onto a roof, they make more sense for new builds.


The electricity that a PV cell makes is ‘direct current’ (DC), which needs to be converted into ‘alternating current’ (AC) in order to be usable in your home or commercial premises. This is what the inverter does – it is a critical part of the system and your panels cannot work without one.


A more recent addition to a solar panel system is a battery. Prior to batteries being available, you were forced to use the energy your system was generating immediately…otherwise it would be lost if it could not be sold back to the grid. Now, domestic or commercial batteries offer the option to store excess energy for later use.


Your solar system will include a user interface, which allows you to monitor the performance of your system and trouble-shoot any issues. This is a piece of software, usually in the form of an ‘App’, which can be accessed through one of your digital devices.

PV Diverter

A PV diverter, as the name suggests, brings another option to your system, that of taking the energy that you have generated and diverting it into another use. Typically, this would be the heating of your hot water by powering your immersion heater.