United Kingdom

Innovation insights: Bifacial solar, better than predicted

Our Innovation team assesses the technology that goes into our projects, this helps ensure they generate as much electricity as they can, delivering the best possible performance and helping to decarbonise the world around us.

In the UK we have been using bifacial panels for several years and these are now the standard technology for our UK projects. Bifacial panels allow sunlight to enter from both sides of the panel, increasing the potential to generate electricity by 7% on some of our sites, according to figures from industry standard simulation programs. However, we believe the uplift seen in the field is actually higher.

We’ve estimated the uplift with our own analysis, by plugging Lightsource bp’s 2021 real world data into industry standard simulations. The analysis was undertaken on two of our closely located projects built at the same time, but using different panel technology, offering suitable conditions for a comparison of this type.

The data shows that not only are the simulations underestimating the performance of both our monofacial and bifacial sites, but that the increase in performance of the bifacial panels over the monofacial panels is higher than the 7% suggested by the simulations.

 

Controlling for any temperature differences between the two, the industry standard simulation software predicts an uplift of 7% whereas the reality seen between the sites is 9-10%. This is a huge margin in an industry where every percentage counts and can change the viability of many projects.

With years of data accumulated over more than a decade of business, and until computer simulation catches up with real world numbers, we can increase the confidence in our predictions for future sites. This is great news as we continue to contribute to the decarbonisation of electricity generation in partnership with businesses, utilities and communities alike.

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