There is an immediate need for solar power system to become more efficient offering greater energy reliability and security. Fortunately, consistent evolution in solar technology perfectly aligns with growing solar demand. Bifacial Glass on Glass modules stand as one of the latest examples of much needed solar innovation in action.
Offering higher energy generation; more flexibility in PV system design; reduced BOS costs; reduced potential points of failure; long durability and aging resistance; more efficiency in harsh environments; more resistance to abrasion, less sensitive to moisture penetration; and levelized cost of energy (LCOE), Glass on Glass modules are quickly becoming the developer’s favourite worldwide. These features save a considerable amount of money by reducing plant completion cost & increasing energy generation, utility scale projects are opting for Glass on Glass modules above other products.
For example, close to 30% of the utility-scale projects installed in China in the second half of 2020 used bifacial modules. The US is showing significant interest in Bifacial modules, importings upwards of 25% from China in 2020 (Jan-May). To understand the scenario in the US, let us look at Wood Mackenzie’s forecast highlighting the U.S. experience with incremental progress in demand for bifacial modules over the next five years. Close to 500 megawatts (MW) of Bifacial modules were installed in 2019 and research indicates growth of more than 7,000 MW by 2024.
How Exactly Bifacial Modules Are Better?
From cost-effectiveness to higher energy production, Bifacial modules have time and again proven their supremacy over monofacial modules. Within Bifacial solar panels, Glass on Glass modules are scoring high by offering better performance in high wind speeds and snowy areas. Its excellent water resistance makes these modules the best option for high humidity areas (such as offshore areas) and solar projects in or around water bodies (Floating solar). Additionally, the ability to perform better in extreme hot and humid conditions (withstanding more than 30 years of damp heat and PID) makes Glass on Glass modules a superior option to ensure reliability and ROI.
Bifacial modules can offer maximum power (Watt) increases of 5 to 25%. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) three-year study indicates that Bifacial modules offer significant energy gains (up to 9%) over monofacial modules. With implementation of single axis trackers there is the potential for additional power gains of 30-40% from these advanced solar panel systems.
With nearly no pricing difference between bifacial and monofacial modules it makes sense to move forward with advanced products that assure higher energy gain.
With very impressive durability features that goes beyond 25 to 30 years, bifacial modules are the best option for a developer’s returns on investment (ROI). In terms of bifacial solar panels market revenue, North America holds the 2nd position globally. Besides impassive number of installations, the US has also become the hub for Bifacial module research and development, raising awareness and driving the market demand. Although, increased tariffs on solar panels and rescinding exclusion for bifacial solar panels did impact the industry in the US, the country is making a comeback as utility scale solar power system installations soar (15% increase in 1st half of 2021 from 1st half of 2020).
Additionally, there is an option to significantly improve energy gains from Bifacial modules by implementing an effective albedo surface (grass, light gravel, sand and even snow can reflect 10%-80% of the light to the back panel).
The Time Is Now To Adopt Solar
These scenarios present a great opportunity for a transformational change within the US energy market. With Glass on Glass modules developers will be able to maintain their margins, while offering better solar panel systems to the utility scale projects thus ensuring energy reliability and fostering a speedier countrywide solar transition.