As solar technology progresses, we will see new breakthroughs and some old ideas get revitalized. The latter is currently happening with bifacial panels. Bifacial solar modules hit the industry in the 1960s. Still, they emerged again over the past five years, thanks to passivated emitter rear cell (PERC) technology. With PERC’s capabilities, bifacial panels have the potential to be a serious player in our current market.
What are bifacial panels?
Bifacial technology collects solar radiation from both sides of the panel. Most panels, monocrystalline, polycrystalline, etc., only collect radiation from the panel’s front side. They are considered monofacial. Traditionally, monofacial panels would have to face a particular direction or be attached to a passive or active tracking system to get the most sunlight possible. Bifacial offsets the need for those practices and technologies, becoming a better method for installers and owners. Now tracking may still be used with bifacial panels to improve production by 60%, or more but it’s not a requirement.
Bifacial solar comes in many designs, such as framed and frameless, dual-glass, transparent back sheets, etc. The idea is to expose the monocrystalline solar cells to sunlight on both sides of the panel. This way, the panels absorb both direct and indirect sunlight, and the photons can start the photovoltaic effect inside solar cells. The ground having a high albedo, or reflectivity will assist with the harnessing of more indirect light. Bifacial panels can be installed at a 35o – 45o angle out in the open or on a flat roof and produce increased amounts of energy. This all depends on the wind in your area and the engineering required for a higher tilt, the higher the tilt the more strength the substructure needs to be to hold it. The higher off the ground the more it will produce, so we find a financial balance.
Benefits of Bifacial
Traditionally, bifacial energy came with additional equipment and installation costs due to the module’s rear side’s challenges. The site’s location, DC design, and installations were more challenging, with bifacial energy difficult to accurately predict the backside energy production due to many variables. Although the industry knew panel production increased, investors didn’t have the firm data to stand on.
After years of research and analysis, studies show that bifacial panels produce 10 – 30% more than monofacial. If you add a single-axis tracker, that power production goes up to 30 – 60%. Benefit number one, proven and measured increase in production and data to handle investor concerns.
How does that help owners? Well, with increased production, your ROI will be faster and a lot higher. This benefit makes the payback period less, and the money rewards higher afterward. The Wood Mackenzie Consultancy predicts bifacial modules will account for 17% of the global market for solar panels in 2024. That’s a large amount, which means more investment into the technology to make it better and easier to produce, leading to a decrease in cost for buyers. Now you are getting more money, higher production to meet your energy demand, and less upfront cost for the technology. That’s a win-win-win scenario for all users of bifacial energy.
Furthermore, cost analyses show that installations for bifacial panels cost are on par with higher monofacial. If you install a tracking system for a commercial project, your system will cost around 15% higher, in total, compared to monofacial. That may sound bad, but remember, the system will require up to 40% fewer modules, with a net 25% less cost. The yield of bifacial energy can be above 20%, up to almost 60% with optimized conditions using trackers. With proven results like these, bifacial panels become the best friends to owners with flat roofs or fields to put their PV arrays.
Where to go for bifacial energy
In SoCal, there is only one place to get your bifacial panels, and that’s Option One Solar. These professionals have been in business since 1979 and have been installing bifacial modules since 2013. They are well aware of analyzing your site to achieve:
- The best solar radiation location with the highest albedo potential
- The best tilt, panel height, and row distance
- Install the best inverter and tracking equipment to maximize your energy production for commercial projects.
Known for their electrical expertise, high-quality installations, and customer service, Option One Solar provides residential and commercial clients with the most reliable and best performing solar packages available. They only use high-quality solar panels from companies like LG, Canadian, and Trina, which are on top of the list for bifacial panels as well.
We are experts in solar installations and strive to lead the way in bifacial energy as well. Our vision is to “Sell and install the world’s best and most reliable solar systems, with the highest levels of installation quality and customer service, at a fair price.” We offer all our customers a host of tailored solutions, the most flexible financial options, and unparalleled customer service that helps residential and commercial customers make well-informed decisions. If you are wondering if a bifacial system is right for you, we can guide you through the whole process.