bifacial solar panels

A Complete Guide to Bifacial Solar Panels – Advantages and Disadvantages

Solar energy has become a cornerstone in the global transition to renewable energy sources. Among the many advancements in solar technology, bifacial solar panels have emerged as a significant innovation. These panels are designed to capture sunlight from both sides, enhancing their efficiency and potential energy output. But are bifacial solar panels worth the investment?

Let’s delve into their advantages, disadvantages, efficiency, cost, and more to provide a comprehensive overview.

What Are The Advantages Of A Bifacial Solar Panel?

Bifacial solar panels have several advantages over traditional monofacial solar panels, making them an attractive option for a variety of solar energy applications.

Here are some of the key advantages:

Increased Energy Production:

Bifacial panels can capture sunlight on both the front and back sides, leading to higher overall energy generation. They can utilize reflected and diffused light from the ground and surrounding surfaces, enhancing their efficiency.

Higher Efficiency:

The ability to absorb light from both sides can lead to efficiency gains of up to 30% compared to monofacial panels, depending on the installation conditions and environment.

Improved Performance in Low Light:

Bifacial panels can perform better in low-light conditions, as the rear side can still capture some light even when the front side is shaded or during cloudy weather.

Durability and Longevity:

Bifacial panels are often designed with glass on both sides, which can enhance their durability and resistance to environmental stressors such as UV radiation, moisture, and physical impact. This can lead to a longer lifespan and lower maintenance costs.

Optimized for Various Installations:

These panels are versatile and can be installed in a variety of configurations, including ground-mounted systems, rooftops, and vertical installations.

They are particularly effective in locations with high albedo (reflective surfaces), such as snowy areas or reflective rooftops.

Aesthetic Appeal:

Bifacial panels can offer a sleeker, more modern appearance, which can be advantageous for residential and commercial installations where aesthetics are important.

Reduced Temperature Coefficients:

Some bifacial panels have better temperature coefficients, meaning they lose less efficiency at higher temperatures compared to traditional panels.

Potential for Lower Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE):

Due to their higher energy output and potential for longer lifespans, bifacial panels can contribute to a lower LCOE, making them a cost-effective option in the long run.

Enhanced Return on Investment (ROI):

The combination of higher efficiency, increased energy production, and durability can lead to a better ROI for solar energy projects utilizing bifacial panels.

Suitability for Tracking Systems:

Bifacial panels are well-suited for use with solar tracking systems, which can further enhance their ability to capture sunlight throughout the day by adjusting their orientation to follow the sun’s path.

Overall, bifacial solar panels offer significant advantages in terms of energy production, efficiency, and durability, making them a compelling choice for various solar energy applications.

What Are The Disadvantages Of A Bifacial Solar Panel?

Despite their numerous advantages, bifacial solar panels also have some disadvantages. Here are three key drawbacks:

Higher Initial Cost:

Bifacial solar panels tend to be more expensive than traditional monofacial panels due to their more complex design and the use of additional materials, such as glass on both sides.

This higher upfront cost can be a barrier for some projects, especially smaller or budget-constrained installations.

Installation Complexity:

Installing bifacial panels can be more complex compared to monofacial panels. Proper installation often requires careful consideration of the mounting structure, tilt angle, height, and the albedo (reflectivity) of the ground or surface beneath the panels.

Achieving optimal performance may necessitate additional planning and potentially higher installation costs.

Dependence on Reflective Surfaces:

The efficiency gains from bifacial panels are highly dependent on the reflectivity of the surfaces around and beneath them.

In environments with low albedo (e.g., dark roofs or non-reflective ground surfaces), the performance boost from the rear side of the panels may be limited.

This makes them less suitable for certain locations compared to monofacial panels.

Are Bifacial Solar Panels Worth It?

When considering the adoption of bifacial solar panels, it’s essential to weigh their advantages against the potential drawbacks.

Bifacial panels offer increased energy production by capturing sunlight on both sides, making them particularly effective in high albedo environments such as snowy regions or areas with reflective surfaces.

This increased efficiency can lead to significant long-term savings and a better return on investment, especially for large-scale commercial or utility projects.

The durability and potential for a longer lifespan of bifacial panels also contribute to their cost-effectiveness over time.

However, these benefits come with higher initial costs and a more complex installation process.

Proper site assessment and careful planning of the mounting structure, tilt angle, and height are necessary to maximize their performance, which can add to the overall project expense.

Additionally, in environments with low reflectivity, the efficiency gains of bifacial panels are diminished, making traditional monofacial panels a more practical and cost-effective choice in such scenarios.

Ultimately, bifacial solar panels are worth the investment if the installation site has suitable reflective conditions and the project can accommodate the higher upfront costs and installation complexities.

What Is The Capacity Of A Bifacial Panel?

The capacity of bifacial solar panels can vary widely depending on the manufacturer, model, and specific technology used.

Below is a table representing typical capacities for bifacial solar panels available in the market.

ManufacturerModelCapacity (Watts)Efficiency (%)Dimensions (mm)
Jinko SolarSwan Bifacial390 – 410 W19.9 – 20.8%1972 x 996 x 40
Canadian SolarBiKu Series400 – 420 W19.8 – 20.5%2000 x 992 x 40
Trina SolarDUOMAX Twin370 – 390 W19.7 – 20.2%1760 x 992 x 40
LONGi SolarHi-MO 4 Bifacial430 – 450 W20.4 – 21.1%2094 x 1038 x 35
REC GroupREC TwinPeak 2S Mono350 – 370 W19.4 – 20.1%1670 x 992 x 40
JA SolarBifacial Mono PERC390 – 410 W20.0 – 20.6%1960 x 991 x 40
Q CELLSQ.PEAK DUO BLK-G8330 – 350 W19.3 – 20.0%1740 x 1030 x 32
LG ElectronicsLG NeON® 2 BiFacial360 – 375 W19.5 – 20.3%1700 x 1016 x 40
SunPowerPerformance 3 Bifacial390 – 410 W19.5 – 20.6%2066 x 1046 x 40
First SolarSeries 6 Plus Bifacial450 – 460 W20.5 – 21.0%2010 x 1212 x 6.8

Note: These capacities are indicative and can range from standard residential panels to high-efficiency commercial and utility-scale panels.

Bifacial Solar Panels Efficiency and Cost

Efficiency: Bifacial solar panels typically have higher efficiency compared to traditional monofacial panels.

Their ability to capture sunlight on both the front and back sides can lead to efficiency gains of up to 30% depending on the installation conditions and environment.

This increased efficiency is particularly notable in high albedo environments, where reflective surfaces can significantly boost the panels’ performance.

Cost: Bifacial solar panels generally come with higher initial costs compared to monofacial panels.

This is due to the more complex design and the use of additional materials such as glass on both sides.

The overall cost can also be influenced by the need for optimized mounting systems to maximize the panels’ bifacial benefits.

Despite the higher upfront investment, the increased energy production and potential long-term savings can make them a cost-effective choice over time.

Can You Use Bifacial Panels on a Roof?

Yes, you can use bifacial solar panels on a roof. However, their performance is highly dependent on the installation environment.

To maximize their efficiency, it’s essential to consider the reflectivity of the roof surface and the surrounding area.

A white or reflective roof can enhance the performance of bifacial panels, while a darker, non-reflective surface may not provide the same level of benefit.

Additionally, proper mounting to allow light to reach the rear side of the panels is crucial for optimizing their performance on a roof.

What Is the Lifespan of a Bifacial Solar Panel?

The lifespan of bifacial solar panels is generally comparable to that of traditional monofacial panels, typically ranging from 25 to 30 years.

Many manufacturers offer warranties that reflect this lifespan, ensuring performance and durability over an extended period.

The robust design, often featuring glass on both sides, can contribute to their longevity by providing added protection against environmental factors such as UV radiation, moisture, and physical impact.

Do Bifacial Solar Panels Increase Efficiency?

Yes, bifacial solar panels can increase efficiency compared to monofacial panels.

By capturing sunlight on both the front and back sides, they can utilize reflected and diffused light from the ground and surrounding surfaces.

This ability to harvest additional light can lead to efficiency gains of up to 30%, depending on the specific installation conditions and the reflectivity of the environment.

The enhanced efficiency makes bifacial panels a compelling option for maximizing energy production in suitable settings.


Bifacial solar panels represent a significant advancement in solar technology, offering higher efficiency and durability. While they come with a higher initial cost and require careful installation to maximize benefits, their potential for increased energy output and long-term savings make them an attractive option for many applications.

Whether they are worth the investment will depend on your specific needs and installation conditions, but for many, the advantages will outweigh the drawbacks.

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