The safest bet: Bifacial Modules in solar energy

Bifacial modules

Initial data shows that the SF7 Bifacial tracker obtains a Bifacial Gain that is 2.4% higher than that of the same modules in 1P configuration. The BiTEC data indicates that individual bifacial modules on a SF7 bifacial solar tracker have up to 19.2% of Bifacial Gain in conditions of high albedo. With medium albedo, the Bifacial Gain of an individual module on a SF7 bifacial solar tracker reached 12%

The expansion of bifacial modules has, once again, revolutionized the solar energy industry. Bifacial technology is affecting both fixed solar power tracker design and, to a lesser extent, the design of the plants themselves. Aspects that were previously dismissed in monofacial module design gain importance and make the difference between an efficient or inefficient bifacial plant. This difference could entail saving millions of euros in the production costs of PV facilities.

Bifacial plants should optimize production of the front and rear sides of the module to improve bifacial gain, which is the energy gain produced in the rear module compared with the front side, affected by parameters like the albedo, the facility’s height, the shadows, the module temperature, and the distance between rows.

Bifacial gain

With the purpose of analyzing all the parameters that affect bifacial gain, Soltec, a leader in solar tracking, inaugurated the Bifacial Tracker Evaluation Center (BiTEC) in July 2018. This center aims to enhance its knowledge of bifacial behavior by adapting the modules to enable continued advancement in the technological development of bifacial solar tracking.

This research center is equipped with 18 300 kWp solar trackers installed under the same conditions of albedo, pitch, and height.

Soltec is working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Black&Veatch and the Renewable Energy Test Center (RETC) studying solar tracker behavior, as well as with major module manufacturers Canadian Solar, Hanwha Q CELLS, Jinko, LG, LONGi, and REC.

The higher Bifacial Gain on the SF7 Bifacial tracker is because the rear of the modules are free from shadows

The research developed by BiTEC has allowed Soltec to measure the trackers’ bifacial gain under real conditions, in addition to comparing the two most common configurations in the current solar tracker market: the 1-vertical (1P) and 2-vertical (2P).

In detail, the results of the first period analyzed under this methodology endorsed by Black&Veatch show that solar panels installed on an SF7 Bifacial tracker obtain a Bifacial Gain that is 2.4% higher than that of the same modules in 1P configuration.

The results obtained from September to November of 2018 show Bifacial Gains of over 19% for individual bifacial modules on a SF7 Bifacial tracker over a white ground cover with an albedo of 63%. The company estimates that even with lower Bifacial Gains and albedo values the economics of a hypothetical project using bifacial modules on SF7 bifacial trackers are better than those of the same project using bifacial or monofacial modules on 1P trackers. The Bifacial Gain of individual bifacial modules on a SF7 Bifacial tracker is 2.4% higher than that of the same modules on a 1P solar tracker, according to data collected at BiTEC. The higher Bifacial Gain on the SF7 Bifacial tracker is because the rear of the modules are free from shadows and the modules operate at a lower temperature.

Soltec measurements based on results obtained at BiTEC indicate that the use of bifacial modules instead of monofacial modules in PV plants may be economically advantageous thus improving investment profitability.

You can find this and many more articles in the most recent edition of Energía16

 

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