BIFACIAL SOLAR IS READY FOR PRIME TIME
Better system economics, higher energy yield, and more robust modeling and field data are driving demand for bifacial solar modules.
There is no doubt that bifacial modules are ready for their breakout role in the world of solar photovoltaic projects.
By the dawn of 2020, there will be a cumulative 5.4 gigawatts of bifacial solar capacity installed globally, mostly in Asia, according to Power & Renewables focused on this market. In five years, there will be a nearly equal share of deployment divided among Asia and North America, with cumulative installed capacity growing tenfold.
Bifacial modules, as the name suggests, harvest energy from both the front and back sides of the module. The energy gain is largely dependent on the level of light reflected off the ground surface, known as albedo.
The precipitous rise of bifacial technology has been enabled by better system economics, higher energy yield, and more robust modeling and field data. This convergence of factors has provided assurance to developers, operators and financiers looking for solar projects with higher gains at increasingly lower costs.
Bifacial passivated emitter rear contact (PERC) solar modules have inherited all of the benefits of one-sided mono PERC technology, paired with their unique higher power output and better reliability. The rise of mono PERC cells across the industry is a major factor in the falling costs for bifacial modules, which are primarily made with mono PERC cells. PERC technology increases cell conversion efficiency by adding a dielectric passivation layer at the rear side of the cell that reduces surface recombination.
While bifacial systems may incur a slight cost premium compared to their monofacial counterparts, the significantly higher energy yield expected from bifacial technology can more than offset this impact, providing a much more attractive levelized cost of energy compared to a monofacial system. WoodMac also expects bifacial production costs to fall by another 23 percent in five years.
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