Bifacial Panel Technology

It used to be an insult to be “two-faced”, and now it’s a sign of being on top of technology trends. We wrote recently about the explosion in solar panel efficiency, and with bifacial panels, that efficiency can be boosted another 20+%.

What is a Bifacial panel?

Traditional solar panels cover the back surface with reflective aluminum, to allow the cells to capture as much light as possible. These cells are only active on the top side, and any light which shines on the rear of the panel is lost. Polycrystalline silicon is the technology which has enabled cost to decrease in recent years.

The cells in a bifacial panel are active on both sides. To enable light to reach the rear, the traditional opaque backing is replaced with a finger grid. The cells themselves, are made from a higher grade monocrystalline silicon, which has a higher energy conversion rate. But, before you look at this as a step backwards, polycrystalline bifacial cells are already hitting the market, to strike that balance between cost and efficiency.
Solar Panel Wafer illustrating the bifacial characteristics

What makes it work?

Albedo. That’s the term which characterizes how reflective a surface is. The reason is that the back side of the module is really only getting reflected light – as a correctly oriented panel will be pointed towards the sun. So if the surface reflecting light to your panel is dark, you won’t see an appreciable difference. If you are on sand, instead of grass, you can see as much as a 20% increase in energy production. Painting the mounting surface reflective white is an easy boost. And for a country which occasionally gets snow – even if the front is covered, the rear can benefit from all that lovely reflective snow

bifacial solar panel

Image courtesy of Silfab Solar

Vertical mounting can result in a significant uptick in power production, and of course using solar tracking will also kick up efficiency by another 5% on average. Proof that bifacial solar panels isn’t just a flash in the pan, can be seen by the number – and quality – of manufacturers with bifacials currently in production: BYD, Hanwa, LG, LONGi, Megacell, Panasonic, Sanyo, Silfab, Sunpreme and Yingli. There’s no doubt that bifacials cause a re-think to traditional design and engineering of solar systems. By some estimates, equivalent energy production could cover a footprint less than half of what it takes today. And that will send us all back to the drawing board, to figure out best mounting systems (OK, we’ve already solved that one with our Titan SP Mounting System), power handling, tracking systems, and much more. It’s a fun time to be in the solar industry.

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Although you are not required to register to access our website you may be asked to provide us with personal information when you visit certain sections of our site. Your use of our site signifies your acknowledgement and consent to our Privacy Policy. If you do not agree to this Privacy Policy, please do not continue to use our site. Your continued use of the site signifies your acceptance of these terms and any changes in effect at the time of use.

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We collect information that you voluntarily provide to us through responses to surveys, search functions, questionnaires, feedback, contact forms and the like. We may also ask you to provide additional information such as your e-mail address if you want to obtain additional services, information, or to resolve complaints or concerns.

HOW DOES COMPANY USE INFORMATION GATHERED ABOUT ONLINE VISITORS?

Before forwarding us any personal information, please be advised that any information gathered on our site may be used in the aggregate for research and development relating to our site and/or for future site development and, if you ask us to, to send you promotional materials. In particular, we may use information gathered about you for the following purposes: to monitor interest in our range of products and to assist us to tailor the content of our site to your needs by collecting information about your preferences through tracking of patterns page views on our site; to create a profile relating to you in order to show you the content that might be of interest to you and to display the content according to your preferences; and, in circumstances where you have indicated that you wish to receive additional information, to send you information about us and promotional material about our products together with details of any offers we may have available from time to time.

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Sentinel Solar considers the protection of children's privacy, especially online, to be of the utmost importance. We do not knowingly collect or solicit personal information from children nor do we allow them to become registered users of, or to request information through, our site or help-seeking information lines.

PROTECTION OF INFORMATION:

Our Commitment to Security. We have put in place physical, electronic, and managerial procedures to safeguard and help prevent unauthorized access, maintain data security, and correctly use the information we collect online. Sentinel Solar applies security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of the information, such as retaining information in secure facilities and making personal information accessible only to authorized employees on a need-to-know basis.

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Personal information you share with us is stored on our database servers at Sentinel Solar, or hosted by third parties who have entered into agreements with us that require them to observe our Privacy Policy.

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If we alter our Privacy Policy, any changes will be posted on this page of our Site so that you are always informed of the information we collect about you, how we use it and the circumstances under which we may disclose it.

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By using this Site or any other Sentinel Solar Site or interactive banner ads, you signify your acceptance of our Privacy Policy, and you adhere to the terms and conditions posted on the Site. By submitting your information, you agree that it will be governed by our Privacy Policy.