Solar Energy

What are Bifacial Solar Panels? How Do They Work?

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Photovoltaic solar panel technology continues to develop rapidly with the increase in investments in this field, so much so that bifacial solar panels appear as a result of this development. In this article, we have prepared what you need to know about the bifacial solar panel, which can generate electricity by absorbing the sun from the front and the back.

What is a Bifacial Solar Panel?

What is a Bifacial Solar Panel

A bifacial solar panel is a type of solar panel that can convert the sun’s rays into electricity on both sides, front and back. Traditional solar panels can only convert the sun’s rays coming in one direction, i.e. the front part, into electrical energy.

The bifacial solar panel has gained this feature thanks to the solar cells placed on both the front and back sides. In this way, it can convert both the sun rays coming to the front part and the sun rays coming to the back by reflecting from the ground into electricity. Almost all bifacial solar panels are made from monocrystalline cells. So they are a type of monocrystalline solar panels.

Bifacial solar panels will be more efficient if they are used for ground-mounted installations, solar tracking systems, and applications such as balconies where the sun can be received from both sides. However, the use of bifacial panel in roof-type applications is meaningless. Because the bifacial panel is mounted on the roof, they cannot get the sun lights from the back side. Therefore they can only generate electricity from one side like standard solar panels.

However, there are bifacial panels installed by increasing the space between the panel roof on the roofs with different mounting types. Of course, different mounting apparatus and shapes should be used here.

How Do Bifacial Solar Panels Work?

The working principle of bifacial solar panels is the same as standard panels. But there is only one difference which is producing electricity with both sides the back and front. So a bifacial panel can also generate electricity by the reflected solar rays on the backside of the panel. This is the main feature that distinguishes most bifacial panels from standard panels.

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The bifacial solar panel absorbs solar rays front side and backside using reflected rays from the ground and produces electricity.

Why are the Bifacial Solar Panels So Special?

Why are the Bifacial Solar Panels So Special?

In addition to being able to generate electricity from two directions, bifacial solar panels have many other features both structurally and in terms of power output.

Since bifacial solar panels also generate electricity by reflection, they can generate around 15% more electricity. In other words, a 370 W bifacial panel can reach a total power of 425 W with the electricity generation of the backside.

Since the efficiency loss of bifacial solar panels is also lower over the years, the efficient electricity production life is also longer. This means that even after 30 years, it can produce electricity at 80-85% of the label value. The efficiency loss over the years is around 0.5-0.6% and is less than standard solar panels. Manufacturers provide a 10-12 year warranty for bifacial panels.

Bifacial panel efficiencies can reach between 18-20% depending on the application.

The ground and environmental conditions in the area where the bifacial panel will be installed are also important. For example, since the reflection of snowy ground is higher, the electricity generation efficiency is higher.

Bifacial solar panels are also considered as the new generation solar panels such as flexible, half-cut solar panels.

Difference Between Monofacial and Bifacial Solar Panels

Difference Between Monofacial and Bifacial Solar Panels

Since a bifacial solar panel can receive sunlight from two directions and generate electricity, it is more efficient than standard monofacial solar panels when used correctly.

If bifacial solar panels are installed vertically in ground-mounted applications, they can generate electricity from two directions from sunrise to sunset. Since there will be no snow accumulation on the panels in vertical installation, they are also more resistant to a loss of efficiency due to this. In short, bifacial panels are more durable than standard panels.

Although bifacial panels have some advantages, standard monofacial solar panels are better for users in many ways. Because bifacial panels require different assembly and workmanship. Accordingly, the construction and other mounting equipment to be used also vary. High efficiency can only be achieved in some mounting methods such as solar tracking, and vertical solar power systems.

Considering all these, the bifacial panel offers high efficiency only in certain applications and projects. If you use bifacial panels on your roof, you will pay much more money and generate the same electricity as standard solar panels. Therefore, it would be more logical to prefer the bifacial panel in ground-mounted installations and solar tracking systems.

CriteriaMonofacial Solar PanelBifacial Solar Panel
Efficiency%18%18-%20 (depending on the type of installation)
Lifetime30 Years30 Years
Warranty20 Years10-12 Years
CostLess expensiveMore expensive

Where Can Bifacial Solar Panels Be Used?

Where Can Bifacial Solar Panels Be Used

In the previous paragraphs, we mentioned that bifacial solar panels are more efficient to use in ground-mounted installations. It is also suitable for use in the solar pergola system in houses. In general, solar power systems suitable for bifacial panels are as follows.

  • Agriculture SPP Applications (Agrivoltaics)
  • Dual-axis solar tracking systems
  • Fixed-angle ground-mounted installations
  • Building Integrated Photovoltaic Solar Energy Systems (BIPV)
  • Pergolas set up in houses and gardens

As a result, using bifacial solar panels for your project plays a vital role in managing your investment cost and shortening the payback period.

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