What are bifacial solar panels? How it works, advantages and disadvantages


When it comes down to PV system design, the goal is always that the system you design will produce as much electricity as possible. In the case of roofs or installation area restrictions, there is a solar panel with solar cells on both sides, which allows for more sunlight to be captured, thus increasing the efficiency of solar power generation.

What are bifacial solar panels?

Bifacial solar panels is a double-sided energy plant that converts sunlight into electricity at its top and bottom.That’s a big difference from the more common monofacial solar panels, which generate power only from the sun-facing side.

Monocrystalline cells are more efficient because the purpose of manufacturing bifacial solar panels is to increase efficiency, and most bifacial solar panels are made from monocrystalline cells, even though monocrystalline cells are more expensive.

The solar cells in a bifacial solar panel are identical to the solar cells in monofacial solar panels. The only real difference is the way the panels are made:the top of each solar module in a double-sided solar panel is covered with protective glass, and the reverse side can be either glass or a transparent backsheet.

How do bifacial solar panels work?

The top solar cells of bifacial solar panels system face the sun, so they capture the incident sunlight directly, absorbing only certain wavelengths. The top solar cell functions similarly to a conventional solar panel array.

The back solar cell absorbs light reflected from the ground. This light is called albedo light. White or light colors reflect better than dark colors. Applying a white or silver surface to the roof or concrete driveway beneath the panels provides the same effect. Studies have shown that white surfaces reflect more than 80% of albedo light.

Where can bifacial solar panels be installed to maximize power generation?

Bifacial solar panels are best suited above highly reflective surfaces such as sand, concrete, or snow.Flat-roofed buildings that are painted with lighter colors can have bifacial panels mounted on them, as can parking canopies, pool patios, decks, pergolas, porches, awnings, and other shade structures. Ground-based systems which cover light materials like concrete, sand, gravel, or tile, are strong candidates as well.

Generally speaking, bifacial panels are not well-suited for residential rooftops, for a number of reasons. To reduce shading underneath them, bifacial solar panels usually need to be situated higher off the reflective surface below, so they cannot be installed close to a roof surface.Utility scale and solar farms are suitable cases where the technology has been adopted

Pros and cons of bifacial solar panels?

Production cost reduction and technology is quite high bifacial solar panels are increasingly competitive.

The advantages of  bifacial solar panels

  1. Increased Efficiency: As bifacial modules can produce powers from both sides of the panel, there is an overall increase in energy generation.On the other hand,they are made of glass and do not have the heat-absorbing aluminum backing of monofacial solar panels, so they operate at lower temperatures, which increases efficiency.
  2. More Durable:Since the bifacial solar panels hold the solar cells through tempered glass, which is weather-resistant, UV-resistant, heat-resistant, strong wind-resistant, and does not require grounding because they do not have a metal frame that could conduct electricity, their construction makes them more durable.Therefore, in some cases, the warranty period is usually extended by 5+ years
  3. Works Well in Diffuse Light:Because sunlight bounces off of all objects reflectively at many different angles, bifacial solar panels are able to capture more of it.
  4. Aesthetically Pleasing:Bifacial PV modules are designed to look better than single-sided modules.
  5. Two energy peaks a day:One half of the tilt-mounted array can be tilted to the east to capture sunrise and morning sun; the second half, to the west, absorbs the intensity of afternoon and sunset light.With vertically mounted bifacial solar panels, the reflection of sunlight from the other side of the solar panel during each peak will also contribute to energy production. Another advantage of the vertical system is that blowing snow or sand will not impede its function.
  6. Smaller footprint:Land is scarce in cities and can occupy a smaller area to generate more power

The disadvantages of bifacial solar panels

  1. Panel weight:Bifacial panels are also heavier which makes them more difficult to install . Older roofs may also not be able to support the added weight or accommodate the support structures that bifacial panels require.
  2. Bifacial panels are more expensive:The upfront cost of  Bifacial panels is 10% higher than a traditional monofacial solar panels.
  3. Restricted use scenarios:According to the current installation experience, the higher the height of the PV module from the ground, the more obvious the back gain effect, when the module height from the ground is above 1.3M, the increase in irradiance received by the back slows down, if the comprehensive consideration of bracket load, cost, maintenance and other factors, the module height from the ground is best between 0.7-1.2M.

With lower production costs and technology upgrades, bifacial solar panels are becoming increasingly competitive compared to other solar panels, and the market for bifacial solar panels will grow tenfold over the next four years. If your company or individual wants to maximize energy efficiency, or if you are interested in solar energy but are concerned about lack of space, then a bifacial solar array may be the perfect choice! For more information on bifacial solar panel products, please contact us!