Bifacial solar panel is a trend that is growing in the PV industry. We expect the bifacial solar panels market share to triple by 2030. These panels are used more and more for all kinds of applications. So, what are they exactly and why are they getting so popular? We have prepared for you a complete guide for you to get all you need to know about bifacial solar panels.
What are bifacial solar panels?
Bifacial PV modules capture sunlight from both sides. Monofacial modules have a back sheet that doesn’t expose the backside of the cells whereas bifacial modules have a transparent back sheet. In that way, the cells get sunlight from the front and the back. The light that is absorbed in the back is the light that has reflected from the ground where the solar panels are installed.
There are several types of bifacial modules. Some modules have only one side of cells with a busbar and expose the back of the cells thanks to a back sheet of glass or transparent TPT. Others have busbars printed on both sides of the cells. Bifacial modules can be framed or frameless.
The ground surface reflectivity under the solar panels is called the albedo. It is the ratio of sunlight that will be reflected on the ground and reach the back side of the bifacial modules. It is an important factor to take into account to calculate the energy yield and profitability of a project. They are usually installed at a different angle than the ground to increase production. That’s why the available title angle is also important to know to calculate the potential of an installation.
Advantages & Disadvantages of bifacial solar panels
The most obvious advantage of bifacial solar modules is the increased efficiency coming from the production of energy from both sides of the modules. They can generate up to 30% more energy than monofacial modules. It leads to a lower LCOE (Levelized Cost of Energy) by increasing the power produced in the same area as other panels. They will also be more productive under bad weather conditions.
They are also more durable. Bifacial panels are more resistant to UV and potential-induced degradation (PID). The glass back sheet will also withstand higher temperatures and stronger winds. Bifacial solar panels have a longer lifetime than other panels.
Aesthetics is also a reason why many installations are made with bifacial modules. The dual glass frame will help the panels not tamper with the aesthetics of the environment where they are installed. Their specific design will be ideal for pergolas, carports, etc.
Bifacial PV modules are more expensive than monofacial modules. In general, they cost 10% more than other modules because of their specific manufacturing process. This additional cost will be compensated only in certain conditions.
Indeed, bifacial solar panels are less flexible because they can’t be applied everywhere. There are usually not recommended for residential clients because of the cost and the fact that the back side won’t produce a lot on residential roofs.
Following the development of renewable energy around the world, several new solar technologies are getting more and more attention. Bifacial PV module demand is growing at a fast rate. The market was at $9.57 billion in 2022 and will probably reach $31.1 billion by 2031 (13.6% of increase per year). In terms of market share, bifacial panels are expected to grow from 28% in 2021 to 60% in 2032.
Gain power and extended lifetime are the key drivers for the development of bifacial solar modules. But the demand won’t increase for all segments of solar installations. While the demand won’t increase a lot for residential installations, C&I and solar farm projects will get more benefits by installing these modules.
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