Bifacial Solar Panels
Advancements in solar technology have given rise to bifacial solar panels. They are an increasingly popular sun-fuelled energy option that allows homeowners to make enormous long-term savings on their utility bills.
Today, we are going to provide you with a rundown of what they are and how they work so that you can determine whether or not they will provide the best solution for the energy requirements of you and your family.
What Are Bifacial Solar Panels?
Traditionally, solar panel technology has always offered an effective solution for meeting energy requirements. It does so with an array of cells on one side of a silicon sheet that are capable of absorbing the sun’s rays and converting them to usable energy.
Where bifacial solar panels differ is that they have two usable panel faces that are both capable of absorbing rays. This in theory almost doubles the effectiveness of solar panel technology with the integration of bifacial solar panels. Both seamlessly work together to produce energy.
As a concept, this makes them a much more attractive option than using the now decades-old technology behind a one-sided solar cell array. Although this bifacial technology is still a fairly new concept, it is proving to be very effective when used as part of larger commercial installations.
As with all other types of solar energy, once you have paid for the initial installation and materials, you then will not need to spend another penny on your energy costs provided the array you have selected is powerful enough to meet all of your energy demands.
How Does a Bifacial Solar Panel Work?
A bifacial solar panel works in an almost identical fashion to a traditional one-sided version. Photovoltaic cells are connected together on the surface of a silicon sheet and placed in a position where they can gain maximum exposure to the sun’s rays. This means that the solar panel is ideally placed in a south-facing position.
Once the sun’s rays strike the surface of the panel, the integrated cells then absorb them and diffuse them by collecting electrons using built-in power inverters. The resulting energy is then sent into an attached electrical circuit for redistribution as usable energy.
Where a bifacial unit sets itself apart is by having usable cells on the rear of the panel too. This maximises efficiency because any sunlight that gets past the south-facing cells and hits the ground can then be reflected back onto the panels placed on the “underside” of the solar array.
This can lead to dramatically enhanced overall effectiveness. You will need to ensure that the surface of the ground underneath the panels is reflective like white rocks or paint would be for instance. Should this prove to be the case though, bi facial technology could be the best energy solution for you.
Bifacial Solar Cell Installation
The installation process is where the majority of thinking needs to be done in regards to whether or not you should actually purchase a system like this. There is a lot more to consider here than with a standard solar array and, of course, a lot more that can go wrong.
The type of mounting system used is one of the main areas to consider with bi facial solar panel technology because your panels can easily get damaged during installation if you are a little too heavy handed. The frame for a dual-sided array must be more minimalistic than that of a standard array. This is because it should be able to minimize shadowing and provide totally unrestricted access to the sun’s rays.
Sometimes, a frame will feature rails and inverters that actually block out some of the panel surface, meaning that not as much light can be absorbed in the process. This can really impede effectiveness and is a design area requiring your utmost consideration.
Luckily, most of the highest quality systems will come with an integrated frame that accommodates high efficiency by default and that has been specially designed by the manufacturer for your particular product. Should this not be the case though, you will need to mount your system using rubber clamps.
Clamp-based installations can be great due to you not having to rely on a predetermined frame. Therefore, you can use the panels on a wider variety of surfaces, but they require more manual adeptness to put in place accurately. As long as your measurements are correct and you only tighten the clamps as much as is needed to keep your panels securely in place, you might find that it is actually better for your circumstances to measure and install your mounting system by hand.
It is then all about the angle of the panels. A traditional one-sided system only requires that you have enough space to accommodate your energy needs and that the panels need to be (ideally) facing the south. This is also true of dual-faced systems, albeit with an added catch.
The panels should be tilted at a high enough angle to allow excess light to pass freely behind them and reflect onto the panel underside. The ground or surface behind or underneath the south-facing panels also must be reflective in order to successfully meet this end.
Some people achieve this with white rocks or via white paint or laminate sheets. No matter how you do it, you should have enough reflectivity via white light surfaces to bounce the rays back onto the panel underside.
The availability of reflected light will be determined by how effective the surface behind your solar array is at bouncing back any unabsorbed rays for a second chance at catching them using the panel undersides. Precisely how effective the underside of your panels is will depend on their surroundings. This is something to consider very carefully before installation.
If you are in an expansive area with a lot of white sand like a desert, this is going to make for enormous efficiency. However, if the installation is placed on dark, muddy ground. That is a different matter altogether. In this instance, the light simply could not reflect properly.
As you can see, installing bifacial solar panels is about much more than just ensuring that the panels are facing south. Provided you keep the above information in mind, you will be successful.
Bifacial vs Traditional Solar Panels
In this section, we are going to highlight the main differences between traditional and bifacial panels so that you have a quick reference guide to glance over before you decide which type of solar array is going to work best for you.
Bifacial Panel Pros
Here are the main benefits of making use of a bifacial system.
- Can yield a higher level of effectiveness
- Has a more desirable appearance
- Can lead to bigger long-term savings
- Has a lower operating temperature
- Better energy optimization for high reflected light absorption
Traditional Panel Pros
The main benefits of making use of a traditional system are the following.
- Cheaper upfront costs
- Simpler installation process
- More suitable for small- or medium-scale locations
- More durable frame because of thickness
- Technology can be easier to maintain due to being more widely accessible
Bifacial Panel Cons
These are the main cons of the dual-panel technology.
- More expensive
- Arguably more efficient than many people need for the money
- More difficult and more complicated to install
- Likely to be harder to maintain due to being less widely used
Traditional Panel Cons
The main cons of single-panel technology are the following.
- Potentially not as efficient
- Design that is usually more visually intrusive
- Possibly will not save you as much in the long run
- Not necessarily the best option for large-scale energy savings
In a nutshell, these are the primary positive and negative aspects of the two panel types.
After reading through this article, we hope that you now feel more confident and educated about this groundbreaking form of sun-powered technology. Although still in its infancy, the dawn of bifacial solar panels is definitely upon us, and it is likely to become the standard means of harnessing photon rays as technology advances and these systems become both more efficient and more economical.
Regardless of at what stage you choose to invest in this evolved type of solar panel, you are going to see massive benefits in regards to long-term cost savings while leaving zero emissions in the process. It is simply a better way to produce and consume energy.