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A Guide to Bifacial Solar Panel Installation

Updated: Jun 12

bifacial solar modules

Solar technology has been rapidly advancing, with one major breakthrough being the widespread use of bifacial solar panels. These innovative photovoltaic (PV) panels have the capability to harness solar power from both the front and rear sides, allowing for increased energy production per unit area. Research has shown that bifacial solar panels can significantly boost energy production in certain environments compared to traditional one-sided panels. The ability of bifacial panels to generate energy from both sides presents a promising development in optimizing solar panel efficiency and overall energy output for PV installations.

What Are Bifacial Solar Panels?

Bifacial solar panels are innovative due to their unique design, which allows them to capture sunlight on both the front and rear surfaces of the PV module. This is a stark contrast to traditional solar panels, which solely rely on the front side to convert sunlight into electricity. By harnessing solar energy from both sides, bifacial PV panels significantly increase overall solar energy production, making them a superior choice in the world of solar technology

The ability to capture light from multiple angles, including reflected light from the ground or nearby surfaces, gives bifacial panels an advantage in certain environments, particularly in areas with highly reflective surfaces such as snow, sand, water, or light-colored rooftops. This increased efficiency and versatility make bifacial solar panels a compelling option for PV installers seeking to maximize energy output and adapt to varying environmental conditions.

What Are the Best Applications for Bifacial Solar Panel Installations?

Bifacial or bilateral solar panels have a range of applications due to their ability to capture sunlight from both the front and rear surfaces. Here are some of the best applications for bifacial solar panels:

  • Ground-mounted bifacial solar installations: Bifacial panels are well-suited for ground-mounted solar systems as they can capture sunlight reflected from the ground, increasing energy production. This makes them ideal for large-scale solar farms and utility-scale projects.

  • Rooftop solar power systems: Bifacial panels can also be installed on roofs, especially on light-colored or reflective rooftops. This can enhance sunlight reflection and boost renewable energy production even further in urban and commercial settings.

  • Vertical solar installations: When bifacial panels are installed vertically, they can capture sunlight during the morning and evening, harvesting energy at different angles of the sun's path. This makes them beneficial for installations where the panels can be oriented vertically.

  • Solar systems near reflective surfaces: Bifacial panels perform well in environments with highly reflective surfaces like snow, water, or sand. Installing them near water bodies or snowy areas can maximize their energy output by utilizing the reflected sunlight to produce more solar electricity.

Pros & Cons of Bifacial Solar Panel Installations

Although bifacial solar panels offer increased energy generation potential and versatility, they also come with higher upfront costs, installation complexities, and dependencies on environmental factors that should be carefully considered when evaluating their suitability for a specific project.

bifacial solar panels

Pros of Bifacial Solar Modules:

  • Increased Energy Generation: Bifacial solar panels can capture sunlight from both sides, increasing energy generation by up to 20% compared to monofacial solar panels. This makes them more efficient in certain conditions, such as when light reflects off surfaces like snow, sand, or nearby structures.

  • Versatility: Bifacial panels can be installed in various configurations, including tilted or elevated off the ground, which can optimize their performance based on specific site conditions.

  • Improved Module Durability: Many bifacial panels are designed with durable materials and protective measures to shield both sides from environmental factors, potentially extending their lifespan.

  • Lower LCOE: With higher energy yields on certain surfaces, bifacial panels can lead to a lower levelized cost of energy (LCOE) over their lifetime compared to monofacial panels, making them economically attractive in certain applications.

  • Aesthetic Appeal: Bifacial panels can have a sleeker appearance since they may be frameless or have a translucent backsheet, which may be more visually appealing to some customers.

Cons of Bifacial Solar Modules:

  • Higher Initial Cost: Bifacial solar panels tend to be more expensive than traditional monofacial panels due to increased module costs and possibly requiring more expensive solar racking systems. The additional cost can deter some installations, especially those prioritizing a lower solar system cost.

  • Dependent on Reflective Surfaces: The increased energy generation of bifacial panels is heavily reliant on the availability of reflective surfaces such as light-colored ground cover or nearby structures. In areas with limited reflectivity, the performance advantage is likely significantly diminished.

  • Installation Complexity: Installing bifacial solar panels may require more planning and expertise than installing monofacial PV panels, especially considering factors like tilt angle, ground cover, proper mounting, and potential shading issues. These can add complexity and cost to the installation process.

  • Limited Data and Standards: Bifacial technology is still relatively new compared to traditional solar panels, which means there may be fewer industry standards, less data on long-term performance, and potentially higher uncertainty regarding reliability and bankability.

  • Potential for Soiling: Bifacial panels can accumulate dirt and debris on both sides, potentially reducing their effectiveness if not cleaned regularly. This can be more challenging than cleaning just one side of monofacial PV panels.

Design Strategies for Bifacial Solar Panel Installation

Although optimum design approaches vary by site, here are some top considerations for two-sided solar modules.

Leading Manufacturers of Bifacial Solar Panels

Numerous solar module manufacturers produce bifacial solar modules. Read on to learn about a few of them.

  • Hyundai Energy Solutions: Hyundai is highlighted as a large and trustworthy manufacturer of panels and other equipment worldwide. They offer an extensive range of bifacial panels, including the GI Series, with an average power of 2.5-2.7W per cell and around 19% efficiency.

  • Jinko Solar: Jinko Solar is known for its cost-effective solar panels. The Tiger Bifacial series features double glass modules, with an average power of 3W per cell and 20.8% efficiency on some models.

  • LG Solar Panels: LG Solar Panels are recognized for manufacturing some of the market's highest-rated and most efficient monocrystalline solar modules. The LG NeON2 BiFacial series of panels has a 2-sided solar cell structure, with an average power of 5.6W per cell and 19.5% efficiency.

  • REC: REC manufactures several bifacial solar panels, including the TwinPeak 2S 72 XV Bifacial Series and the Alpha Pro M Bifacial Series. One notable feature of REC bifacial panels is their utilization of PERC (Passivated Emitter Rear Cell) technology, which enhances their energy generation efficiency.

  • Sunpreme: Sunpreme specializes in bifacial solar modules and is known for its frameless double-glass panels. They contain HCT cells, a type of solar cell construction that combines amorphous silicon (a-Si) and crystalline silicon (c-Si) layers to improve solar panel efficiency and performance.

  • Vikram Solar: This solar panel manufacturer features several bifacial PV modules, including the Hypersol, Paradia, Prexos, and Somera. Among them, the Hypersol bifacial solar panels are the most efficient, at 23% efficiency. 

Tips For Bifacial Solar Panel Installation

Due to several factors, installing bifacial PV panels can be more complex than traditional monofacial panels. Although the basic principles of installation remain similar, there are some additional considerations before getting started:

  • Optimal Orientation: Bifacial panels can capture sunlight from both sides, which means their orientation and tilt angle are crucial for maximizing energy generation. Installers must carefully assess the site conditions and position the panels to optimize their exposure to sunlight.

  • Ground Cover and Reflectivity: Bifacial panels can benefit from reflective surfaces such as light-colored ground cover or nearby structures that bounce sunlight onto the underside of the panels. Consider ground cover options and adjust panel height or tilt to maximize the use of reflected light.

  • Mounting Systems: The mounting system for bifacial panels needs to be designed to support the weight of the panels and allow light to reach both sides effectively. Installers may need to select or design mounting systems specifically tailored to bifacial panels, which could add complexity to the installation process.

  • Shading Considerations: While bifacial panels can capture light from both sides, shading on either side of the panel can still impact their performance. Installers need to carefully assess potential shading issues and take steps to minimize shading from nearby obstructions such as trees, buildings, or other panels.

  • Cleaning and Maintenance: Bifacial panels can accumulate dirt and debris on both sides, impacting their performance if not cleaned regularly. Installers may need to factor in regular cleaning and maintenance schedules to ensure optimal energy generation.

  • Electrical Wiring and Connections: Wiring bifacial panels may require additional planning to ensure proper electrical connections for both sides of the panel. Installers must pay attention to the wiring layout and connections to ensure efficient energy production and system reliability.

If you need help designing a solar system with bifacial PV, create a GreenLancer account. The GreenLancer platform offers solar system design services, including permit-ready plan sets, engineering reviews, and solar interconnection applications.

Are Bifacial Solar Modules Durable?

Bifacial solar modules are generally considered to have higher durability than monofacial panels for a couple of reasons. These two-sided solar panels often have a stronger build quality and are designed to withstand various environmental conditions. They are typically made with advanced materials and construction techniques that increase their resistance to physical damage and degradation.

Also, the double-sided nature of the bifacial panels allows for more uniform stress distribution, which can contribute to their overall durability. Monofacial panels, on the other hand, are typically more vulnerable to potential issues like hotspots and potential-induced degradation (PID) due to uneven stress distribution.

Reliability Test Data for Bifacial Solar Panels

Many models of bifacial solar panels are rated as top performers on the 2024 PVEL Module Reliability Scorecard. Their robust performance across multiple test categories reaffirms their reliability and suitability for a wide range of solar installations, offering enhanced energy production and durability.

Notably, they excelled in tests such as thermal cycling, damp heat, mechanical load, UV exposure, and hail resistance. Their resilience to extreme weather conditions and superior efficiency in capturing sunlight from both sides reaffirms their suitability for diverse solar installations, ensuring long-term reliability and performance.

Offering Bifacial Panel Installation

Completing bifacial PV modules showcases your commitment to innovation and staying ahead of industry trends. This can attract customers who value cutting-edge solutions and separate you from competitors offering only conventional solar panels. By showcasing the advantages of bifacial modules, you can position yourself as an industry leader and preferred choice for customers who seek innovative solutions.

Do you need help designing a solar system with bifacial panels? The GreenLancer platform offers solar system design services, including permit-ready plan sets, engineering reviews, and solar interconnection applications. Create a GreenLancer account to begin shopping for solar design services for residential and commercial projects, or complete the form below to learn more.


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