Advanced Module Technologies- BiFacial Solar
Bifacial solar cells have been under development for decades and their manufacturing process can be considered one of the most advanced for solar modules today
Bifacial cells are capable of generating electricity not only from sunlight received on their front but also from reflected sunlight received on the reverse side of the cell.
At the time of writing China retains its status as the largest manufacturer of, and end market for, bifacial modules. Worldwide demand has also increased, with countries such as the UnitedStates, Brazil and the United Kingdom increasing their use of bifacial modules for utility-scale PV plants.
Based on the current market trend, bifacial are extending their geographical reach from Europe and Japan to emerging markets and across the globe.
Bifacial operation, facilitated by the uptake of PERC (which is driving the bifacial boom), offers a near-term effective efficiency increase of 5–20% relative by increasing the energy output from a given module area. According to the Fraunhofer ISE’s module technology division, nearly every cell producer that has upgraded to PERC is also working on bifacial technology, and the greater that PERC expands, the greater that bifacial modules will too.
Despite the growth and advantages of bifacial cells, the technology still has some obstacles to overcome, such as the lack of an international testing standard, no common ground for power labelling or pricing, and yield simulation and bankability issues.
One type of bifacial module is the glass-glass module. These are solar panels with solar cells arranged between two glass panes. They are typically applied to utility-scale systems and provide a heavy-duty solution for harsh environments (e.g. high temperatures, high humidity) because they are less sensitive to the penetration of moisture.
The technology has already been under development for decades, but their high costs and heavyweight has been a barrier to their development.