“Solar power is a safe form of nuclear energy. We are using fusion reactions that are 93 million miles away to make light that we then convert to electricity with photovoltaic modules.”
Solar power has immense potential to put the world on the path of zero pollution again. When utilised the right way with the help of rooftop PV panels, solar power can reverse global warming by limiting the emission of greenhouse gases.
Whether it’s the ghost of mounting electricity bills that’s chasing you or you’re aware of the serious repercussions of global warming, it’s a solar PV system that can solve all these issues.
In this guide, we will be specifically focusing on the pricing, pros, and cons of a bifacial solar panel. Although mono panels and poly panels are more popular in residential rooftop installations, understanding bifacial solar panels is important too.
Take a plunge and explore the world of solar panels like never before.
What are bifacial cells and bifacial solar panels?
Solar cells are the building blocks of solar panels. There are n-number of materials that are used to manufacture solar cells but it’s silicon that’s the most frequently used material when it comes to solar panels.
Bifacial solar cells are also made of silicon. Putting it out simply, a bifacial solar cell is nothing but two silicon cells stacked together in such a way that they face the opposite direction.
When many bifacial cells are stacked together, the resulting structure is a bifacial solar panel. Both sides of bifacial panels generate electricity since solar cells are present on both sides.
Interestingly, there’s further variety in bifacial panels too: they can be made of polycrystalline cells as well as monocrystalline cells.
Working of bifacial solar: How’s it different?
A bifacial panel is the most efficient type of solar panel. Let’s walk you through the working to make things easier now.
The front side of the bifacial solar panels collects direct sunlight
The backside of the bifacial solar panel collects sunlight that hits the ground and is reflected
Together, the two sides trap more sunlight than a monofacial panel can
The trapped photons are converted into DC power
This systematically explained working might give out the impression that bifacial PV panels give double the output of monofacial panels. But that’s not the case. The output that’s generated by a bifacial panel is 4-5% higher than one-sided (traditional) panels.
The actual significance of bifacial panels comes to use when solar trackers are installed. Needless to say, solar panel bifacial types are more beneficial in industrial and commercial setups.
Monofacial vs Bifacial Solar Panels
Technology is and has always been the key to advancement and betterment – solar panels are no different. There’s always a new version that makes the older one obsolete. Does it mean that monofacial panels will be taken over by bifacial PV panels in the near future?
Let’s walk you through the differences first before handing out a verdict.
|Monofacial Solar Panels with Polycrystalline cells||Monofacial Solar Panels with monocrystalline cells||Bifacial panels|
|Just the front side collects sunlight||Just the front side collects sunlight||Both, the front and back sides collect sunlight|
|The efficiency ranges between 16-17%||The efficiency ranges between 19-21%||The efficiency shoots up to 22%|
|The current cost is approximately ₹24.5/watt||The current cost is approximately ₹29/watt||The current cost is roughly ₹30/watt|
Please note: These prices are indicative, the cost keeps fluctuating based on many factors.
Clearly, bifacial solar panels are more expensive than monofacial panels; but they’re slightly more efficient as well.
Also, the performance of bifacial panels also depends on the surface they’re installed on.
Snow, for instance, reflects a lot of light. Hence, a bifacial solar panel will perform better in snowy weather.
Benefits and Limitations of a Bifacial Solar Panel
An eager mind always wants more specifics before making a decision. Hence, we’ve curated this section on the benefits and limitations of bifacial PV panels.
Benefits of bifacial panels:
- – They have better efficiency
- – They perform better when the weather is cloudy or there’s snow
- – They are apt sources to trap sunlight and produce clean electricity
Limitations of bifacial panels:
- – They’re slightly expensive
- – They perform to their best caliper when trackers are installed. But the inclusion of solar trackers increases the maintenance cost.
Bifacial panels for residential installations: What hinders the popularity?
The cost of bifacial solar panels used to be very high. Hence, they weren’t considered that great a choice for residential sector earlier. However, with latest advancements, the prices have gone down. Therefore, bifacial solar panels have entered the residential sector too.
A bifacial solar panel has an efficiency of up to 22% but it’s also about ₹1/watt costlier than monofacial solar panels. However, with advancement in technology, bifacial solar panels are becoming cheaper; hence, more popular in the residential sector.
1. Are bifacial solar panels better?
It entirely depends on the context and use case.
They’re better in terms of efficiency and output. Also, the surface they’re being installed on matters.
2. Are bifacial solar panels more expensive?
Yes, a bifacial solar panel is more expensive. It is approximately ₹1/watt costlier than monofacial solar panels.
3. What are the disadvantages of a bifacial solar panel?
Their cost is their biggest limitation. If solar trackers are installed, it only increases the maintenance cost and the break-even period. However, there’s usually no need to install solar trackers for residential installation. Solar trackers are usually required for commercial purposes.