As the world continues to shift towards renewable energy sources, solar power has emerged as a leading contender. Among the various solar technologies available, bifacial solar panels have shown significant promise, particularly when paired with solar carport systems. Here's why.
Bifacial solar panels, as the name suggests, are capable of capturing sunlight from both sides. Unlike traditional solar panels that only absorb sunlight from one side, bifacial panels can convert ambient light from the underside into electricity. This unique feature allows these panels to generate up to 15-20% more output, making them a more efficient choice for solar energy production.
When paired with solar carport systems, the benefits of bifacial panels are further amplified. Solar carports are structures designed to provide shade for parked vehicles while also generating solar power. They are typically taller than standard carports, with heights ranging from 16’ to 25’ at the top of the panels. This additional height and space underneath the carport allow for more ambient light to reflect onto the panels, further increasing their energy production.
Moreover, the design of solar carports complements the use of bifacial panels. For instance, carport solar racking system can orient the panels in portrait mode when using bifacial panels. This orientation allows the purlines (horizontal beams along the roof) to run along each panel’s frame, ensuring the solar cells are free of the purline’s shadow. This lack of backside shading maximizes the energy generated by the bifacial cells.
Another advantage of using bifacial panels in solar carports is the potential for increased yield from reflective surfaces below the panels. Studies have shown that power gains can be achieved with different albedo levels. For example, a white painted background can result in a 24.6% gain, sand can lead to an 11.81% gain, and grass can provide a 6.7% gain. Even snow and ice have high albedo, meaning they can reflect significant amounts of light onto the panels.
In addition to these benefits, bifacial panels also offer a solution for snow management. During snow events, the backside of the panels becomes the primary collector surface, sustaining partial electrical current flow. This backside energy collection serves as a heat supply to melt accumulated snow. By deploying bifacial panels in an elevated, low angle architecture, the snow on the panels is managed by backside heating and natural solar irradiation, accelerating snow melt by up to 60%.
In conclusion, the pairing of bifacial solar panels with solar carport systems offers a highly efficient, aesthetically pleasing, and practical solution for solar energy production. As bifacial installations are predicted to account for 17% of the global market of solar panels in 2024, it's clear that this technology will play a significant role in the future of renewable energy.