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This content will become publicly available on February 6, 2019

Title: Optimization and performance of bifacial solar modules: A global perspective

With the rapidly growing interest in bifacial photovoltaics (PV), a worldwide map of their potential performance can help assess and accelerate the global deployment of this emerging technology. However, the existing literature only highlights optimized bifacial PV for a few geographic locations or develops worldwide performance maps for very specific configurations, such as the vertical installation. It is still difficult to translate these location- and configuration-specific conclusions to a general optimized performance of this technology. In this paper, we present a global study and optimization of bifacial solar modules using a rigorous and comprehensive modeling framework. Our results demonstrate that with a low albedo of 0.25, the bifacial gain of ground-mounted bifacial modules is less than 10% worldwide. However, increasing the albedo to 0.5 and elevating modules 1 m above the ground can boost the bifacial gain to 30%. Moreover, we derive a set of empirical design rules, which optimize bifacial solar modules across the world and provide the groundwork for rapid assessment of the location-specific performance. We find that ground-mounted, vertical, east-west-facing bifacial modules will outperform their south-north-facing, optimally tilted counterparts by up to 15% below the latitude of 30 degrees, for an albedo of 0.5. The relative energymore » output is reversed in latitudes above 30 degrees. A detailed and systematic comparison with data from Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America validates the model presented in this paper.« less
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [1]
  1. Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN (United States)
  2. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0306-2619
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Applied Energy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 212; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0306-2619
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY; bifacial solar module; global performance; global optimization; meteorological database; vertical solar module; self-shading; photovoltaics; solar energy
OSTI Identifier: