Bifacial PV Project

Traditional AL-BSF PV cells are made to convert light hitting the front side of the cell to electricity. However newer PV cell designs (e.g., PERC, PERL, PERT, and HIT) with some minor modifications can be made so that light hitting from both sides contributes to the current produced by the cell. When placed into modules designed with transparent backsheets or glass-glass construction, bifacial PV modules are born. This idea is not new, but has only recently been applied to mainstream PV modules and systems and is growing fast.  ITRPV 2018 forecasts predict that bifacial modules will make up 10% of the world market share of PV modules by 2020 and over 30% by 2028.

Ask yourself, if the first PV cell that was invented was bifacial, how would PV modules and systems be different from today’s PV technologies?  We believe that bifacial PV represents a revolutionary opportunity for increasing the efficiency and lowering the cost of solar energy systems.  Field data, characterization methods and standards, and predictive models are needed.

Sandia National Laboratories, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the University of Iowa worked together from 2016-2018 to better understand the performance characteristics of bifacial PV modules and systems. Sandia and NREL are currently working together on a follow-on project from 2019-2021 aimed at optimizing the performance of bifacial PV systems.

Our Team:

  • Joshua S. Stein   Sandia National Laboratories   (Principal Investigator; Field data and modeling)
    • Cameron Stark, Dan Riley, Cliff Hansen
  • Chris Deline        National Renewable Energy Laboratory  (Co-PI; Characterization and modeling)
    • Silvana Ayala Pelaez, Bill Marion
  • Fatima Toor        University of Iowa   (2016-2018)
    • Amir Asgharzadeh Shishavan (PhD, 2019)

Publications and Presentations

2021

  • MESIA Webinar on Bifacial Photovoltaic Module and Systems: Experience and Results – Moderated by Joshua S. Stein, June 29, 2021: Recording: https://lnkd.in/dXA6SHB.
  • Stein, J.S., C. Reise, et al. (2021). IEA-PVPS T13-14:2021: [Download not found]
  • Pike, C., E. Whitney, M. Wilber and J. S. Stein (2021). “Field Performance of South-Facing and East-West Facing Bifacial Modules in the Arctic.” Energies 14(4): 1210.
  • Marion, B., Measured and satellite-derived albedo data for estimating bifacial photovoltaic system performance, Solar Energy, v.215, pp. 321-327, 2021, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.solener.2020.12.050.

2020

  • Monark, Mark and Ayala Pelaez, S., Analysis and Validation of Spectral Irradiance Simulations for 75 kW Bifacial Solar Test Field, NREL Student Intern Symposium, 2020
  • Stein, J.S. et al., Estimation of Maximum Current Generated by Bifacial PV Arrays for System Design,”  EU PVSEC, 2020. SAND2020-9271C.
  • Marion, B., “Albedo Data Sets for Bifacial PV Systems,” in 2020 IEEE 47th PVSC, 2020.
  • Gostein, M., Marion, B., Stueve, B., “Spectral Effects in Albedo and Rearside Irradiance Measurement for Bifacial Performance Estimation,” in 2020 IEEE 47thPVSC, 2020.
  • Ayala Pelaez, S., Deline, C., Marion, B., Sekulic, B., McDanold, B., Parker J., Stein, J.S. “Field-Array Benchmark of Commercial Bifaical PV Technologies with Publicly Available Data” 47th IEEE PVSC Conference, virtual June 2019.
  • Carlos D. Rodríguez-Gallegos, Haohui Liu, Oktoviano Gandhi, Jai Prakash Singh, Vijay Krishnamurthy, Abhishek Kumar, Joshua S. Stein, Shitao Wang, Li Li, Thomas Reindl, Ian Marius Peters. Global Techno-Economic Performance of Bifacial and Tracking Photovoltaic Systems. Joule, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.joule.2020.05.005
  • Cell Press. (2020, June 3). Double-sided solar panels that follow the sun prove most cost effectiveScienceDaily. Retrieved June 4, 2020
  • Deline, C., S. A. Pelaez, S. MacAlpine and C. Olalla (2020). “Estimating and parameterizing mismatch power loss in bifacial photovoltaic systems.” Progress in Photovoltaics. https://doi.org/10.1002/pip.3259.
  • Ayala Pelaez, S. and C. Deline (2020). “bifacial_radiance: a python package for modeling bifacial solar photovoltaic systems.” Journal of Open Source Software 5(50). https://doi.org/10.21105/joss.01865

2019

2018

2017

  1. Stein, J.S. et al., 2017.  Comparison of modeling methods and tools for bifacial PV performance (3317 downloads) . 9th PV Performance Modeling and Monitoring Workshop, Weihai, China.
  2. Deline, C., et al., 2017.  Bifacial PV Performance Models: Comparison and Field Results (3128 downloads) . BiFiPV 2017 Workshop, Konstanz, Germany
  3. Hansen, C., et al., 2017.  A Detailed Performance Model for Bifacial PV Modules (2926 downloads) . 33rd European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  4. Stein, J. S., et al., 2017.  Outdoor Field Performance of Bifacial PV Modules and Systems (2765 downloads) . 33rd European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  5. Asgharzadeh, A. et al., 2017.  Analysis of the Impact of Installation Parameters and System Size on Bifacial Gain and Energy Yield of PV Systems (3084 downloads) . 44th IEEE PVSC. Washington, DC.
  6. Stein, J. S., et al., 2017.  Outdoor Field Performance from Bifacial Photovoltaic Modules and Systems (2910 downloads) . 44th IEEE PVSC. Washington, DC. SAND2017-6464C.
  7. Hansen, C. W., et al., 2017,  A Detailed Model of Rear-Side Irradiance for Bifacial PV Modules (2665 downloads) . 44th IEEE PVSC. Washington DC. SAND2017-6554 C.
  8. Marion, B., et al., 2017.  A Practical Irradiance Model for Bifacial PV Modules (3061 downloads) . 44th IEEE PVSC. Washington DC.
  9. Riley, D., et al., 2017.  A Performance Model for Bifacial PV Modules (3024 downloads) . 44th IEEE PVSC. Washington, DC.
  10. Hansen and Riley, 2017,  Performance model for bifacial PV modules (6821 downloads) . Presentation at the 8th PVPMC Workshop, Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico.
  11. Asgharzadeh, A., et al., 2017.  “Ray Tracing Models for Bifacial PV Performance“. Presentation at the 8th PVPMC Workshop, Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico.
  12. MacAlpine et al., 2017,”Progress Toward Efficient Bifacial Rear Irradiance Models”, Presentation at the 8th PVPMC Workshop, Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico.
  13. Deline, C., S. MacAlpine, B. Marion, F. Toor, A. Asgharzadeh and J. S. Stein (2017). “Assessment of Bifacial Photovoltaic Module Power Rating Methodologies – Inside and Out.” Journal of Photovoltaics,V. 7(2), p. 575-580.
  14. Stein et al., 2017,  Field Performance of Bifacial PV Modules and Systems (4248 downloads) , Presentation at the 8th PVPMC Workshop, Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico.
  15. Stein, J.S., Burnham, L., and, Lave, M. 2017.  One Year Performance Results for the Prism Solar Installation at the New Mexico Regional Test Center: Field Data from February 15, 2016 - February 14, 2017 (3014 downloads) . Albuquerque, NM, Sandia National Laboratories. SAND2017-5872.

2016

Bifacial Open Source Software

  • bifacial_radiance: Contains a series of Python wrapper functions from NREL to make working with RADIANCE easier, particularly for the PV researcher interested in bifacial PV performance.
  • bifacialvf: A self-contained view factor (or configuration factor) model from NREL which replicates a 5-row PV system of infinite extent perpendicular to the module rows. Single-axis tracking is supported, and hourly output files based on TMY inputs are saved. Spatial nonuniformity is reported, with multiple rear-facing irradiances collected on the back of each module row.
  • 3Dbifacial_VF: Matlab functions and example scripts to model rearside irradiance using a 3D view factor approach.  Able to simulate variations across individual modules in an array.  Code is available here:  Sandia_Bifacial-PV_View-Factor-code_0.2-1.zip (4379 downloads)

Bifacial Workshops (click on links to access information and presentations)

20192019 Bifacial (BiFi) WorkshopAmsterdam, Netherlands
20182018 Bifacial (BiFi) WorkshopDenver, USA
20172017 Bifacial (BiFi) WorkshopKonstanz, Germany
20162016 Bifacial (BiFi) WorkshopMiyazaki, Japan
20152015 Bifacial (BiFi) WorkshopAntofagasta, Chile
20142014 Bifacial (BiFi) WorkshopChambery, France
20122012 Bifacial (BiFi) WorkshopKonstanz, Germany

External Bifacial Resources and References (please send me additional references to add to this site)