There are two main types of solar panels used in New Zealand
Evacuated Tube Solar Panels.
Evacuated Tube Solar Panels consist of individual glass tubes, which connect to a common manifold. Inside the glass tubes is a copper pipe, attached to a copper fin, with one side usually painted violet (the colour that UV light is attracted too).
The air is vaccuumed out of these glass tubes so that the tubes do not waste energy heating the air.
PROS: More energy efficient.
Easily replaced if a tube breaks.
CONS: A lot more movable parts.
Have a shorter life span/warranty than flat plate panels.
Flat Plate Solar Panels.
Flat Plate Solar Panels are made up of many small copper tubes, attached to copper plates, inside a frame, with a glass covering and insulation.
The most common sizes are 1mtr x 2mtrs.
PROS: A lot more sturdy and less prone to breaking and cracking.
A flat finish makes them integrate a lot smoother.
CONS: Not as efficient as Evacuated Tubes.