Complete Overview of Bifacial Solar Panels: What You Should Know

What are Bifacial Solar Panels?

Bifacial solar panels are almost the same as normal ones, except for a few but significant structural differences that make them unique and beneficial at the same time.

As you already know, sunlight strikes only one side of traditional solar panels. This is because a black or opaque sheet covers their backsides. Hence, they produce power using only the front side. This is where bifacial solar panels differ  

Bifacial solar panels have their backs covered with either a transparent sheet or a have a double glass panel. This makes reflection possible, hence, there is energy production from both sides, increasing the total power output.

Moreover, bifacial solar arrays don’t contain the metal which holds PV cells together. Instead, glass connects it all. Also, they don’t need frames to hold the structure.

All of this adds to the efficiency of bifacial solar panels. You can simply call bifacial solar panels as a more efficient variant of mainstream solar panels.

How Do Bifacial Solar Panels Work

Here is the question, how does this help generate more power? The answer is simple physics! The structure of these solar panels makes it possible for energy production from both sides instead of one. Let’s find out more about the structure of these solar panels to understand how they operate.

Since traditional solar panels have opaque or black back sheets, the light energy that enters through them is reflected away and go to waste.

Hence, power production only happens on one side of these solar panels. This is why they’re also called monofacial solar panels.

On the other hand, bifacial solar panels feature a transparent back sheet. Also, they have solar cells on the back too. So when light enters the PV cells from the front, the action between the photons and electrons generates a current.

But what happens to the light when it leaves the PV cells from the front?

Since transparent material covers the backside of these solar panels, light can pass through easily.

After this light hits the ground, it reflects the solar panel through the process of internal reflection.

The PV cells at the back make sure that the light that is reflected is absorbed and used again for producing energy.

However, this is more beneficial in reflective areas like snow or other white or highly reflective surfaces.

What Makes Bifacial Solar Panels so Efficient?

Bifacial solar panels are not only efficient because of their ability to make use of reflective light, but many other reasons also increase their effectiveness. Some companies claim that up to thirty percent of increased efficiency is achievable. 

Advantages of Bifacial Solar Panels

There is a reason why bifacial solar panels are gaining popularity like wildfire. This is because of the many benefits that come with them. Here are a few to mention:

More Power Output

The first and most obvious advantage, as you might have guessed, is the increased level of power output.

Although this greatly varies between the type of bifacial solar panel, installation method, and available reflective surfaces, you can be sure that there will be a definite increase in power output.

PID

Because of their structure, these solar panels have a minimum to zero potential induced degradation, thus, increasing efficiency.

Quality of Silicon

These solar cells contain monocrystalline silicon. Hence, there is a noticeable increase in power production, and that too, from both sides

Grounding

Frameless bifacial panels don’t need to be grounded, saving installation costs plus material.

Durability

The double glass frames of these panels don’t only enable more energy production, but also make them extra durable. As tempered glass frames these modules, this makes the structure stronger than traditional solar panels.

So, they are safe from environmental hazards. Furthermore, most manufacturers give a warranty of thirty years for these solar panels as compared to twenty-five years for the old design.

Here is a guide on the average lifespan of solar panels.

Aesthetics

Bifacial solar panels are slim and sleek. Thus, they don’t look awkward and won’t ruin the appearance of your house. For example, you can use them like canopies as this makes them more aesthetically pleasing.

Disadvantages of Bifacial Solar Panels

As with everything, these solar panels also have cons. Here are some disadvantages of bifacial solar panels:

Cost

The biggest downside of bifacial solar panels is their cost. Since they are made up of high-quality silicone, they are more expensive than traditional solar panels. Not only this, but the tempered dual glass also adds to the increased price.

Bifacial solar panels also have increased installation costs. The double glass structure makes them very heavy. Hence, installing them requires special skills, especially in vertical mounting.

This, in turn, increases installation costs.

Space

As with every solar panel system, you need a lot of space for enough amounts of power. The surface area where sunlight hits needs to be enough, plus, there needs to be spacing between rows of panels, as mentioned earlier.

All of this requires a lot of space. Replacing your roof with solar panels can be a tall task .

Weather

Changes in weather affect energy production in all solar panel systems significantly. For instance, a cloudy day will reduce power output, although it will still generate some, especially in bifacial panels.