Bifacial photovoltaic modules, what are their characteristics and why to install them

What are bifacial photovoltaic panels?

Unlike classic photovoltaic panels, bifacial panels are able to collect energy from solar radiation both from the side directly exposed to the sun and from the rear. With this type of modules, the ratio of surface used/energy produced increases considerably.

Even for inexperienced people, it is easy to see that bifacial panels are significantly more advantageous than the classic ones. 

bifacial solar panels on a snow layer

Where to place them?

They are suitable for placement in open fields, as they capture sunlight that is reflected from the ground. In order to work properly, they must be raised a few meters above the ground. In fact, the characteristic of this type of photovoltaic modules is the ability to produce electricity from light reflected from the ground.

Following this principle, the more reflective the surface on which the panels are placed, the greater the yield. White surfaces, reflective tiles or glass panels are ideal for this type of installation.

It is not recommended to place bifacial modules on pitched roofs. However, they can be installed on flat roofs with a highly reflective surface. In any case, it will be necessary to assess whether the structure is suitable to support their weight, which is generally greater than the weight of traditional panels.

solar farm with bifacial photovoltaic modules
image source - smart city.lv

What is the optimal tilt for bifacial panels?

The optimal angle of inclination for this type of panels, varies depending on latitude and exposure. 

For bifacial panels oriented east-west, vertical positioning (90°) is the most profitable in terms of energy produced. This tilt allows the panel to capture energy in the early morning and late afternoon. During the day, energy will be produced through light reflected from the ground.

In addition, the vertical installation prevents the deposit of dust and snow on the surface of the panel.

For south-north oriented modules, the angle increases with latitude. In general, double-sided panels need a greater tilt than single-sided panels.

East-west oriented bifacial panels, with 90° tilt source - solarquotes.com.au

Bifacial panels are more durable

Bifacial panels are covered with glass on both sides. This allows for greater protection of the components from external agents and a ten-year lifespan. In contrast, the back side of single-sided panels is often covered with a metal frame, which is more prone to deterioration over time.

Sure, bifacial panels have a higher installation cost, but it pays off over time.

Install bifacial photovoltaic panels on the roof of the greenhouse

Greenhouse roofs are a highly reflective surface, even though they are generally sloped. Installing photovoltaic panels of any kind on these structures requires careful design analysis; we discussed this in this article

Bifacial panels, can also be placed on greenhouse roofs, but their space efficiency would not be as effective compared to an open field placement.

Alessandro Azzolin
Alessandro Azzolin
Digital marketing intern, with interests in different cultures. My priority is the preservation of ecosystems.
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