Bifacial photo voltaic modules are the brand new regular for developer Lightsource BP, the corporate tells GTM.
Lightsource BP, amongst Europe’s largest photo voltaic builders, put in a bifacial take a look at system in Northern Eire in 2018. Actual-world knowledge from that has made the corporate snug utilizing the know-how for its newest tasks. Now different huge European builders are gearing as much as do the identical in 2020.
“From the latter a part of 2019 going ahead, each single one among our websites, together with the U.S., Australia, and the latest 250 megawatts in Spain, are utilizing bifacial applied sciences,” Chris Buckland, technical director at Lightsource BP mentioned in an interview.
‘Now there is no such thing as a debate’
2019 was a breakout 12 months for bifacial photo voltaic know-how, with world installations doubling in comparison with 2018, in keeping with knowledge from Wooden Mackenzie.
One of many challenges for bifacial photo voltaic has been quantifying how a lot additional energy the rear aspect of the panel can generate. As a way to finance tasks towards that additional energy it must be quantified in a method that traders are snug with.
Early tasks have been tremendous conservative on this significant determine, as have producers, choosing low single-digit percentages. But when a challenge can function for a number of years and generate that site-specific, real-world knowledge, it could possibly then be refinanced with greater era figures, which implies decrease rates of interest.
Buckland mentioned the rise in era from the take a look at web site in Northern Eire exhibits that the era enhance comfortably offsets the value premium on the modules.
“Throughout the U.Okay. we will probably be very upset if we see lower than Eight % of uplift, supplied that the remainder of the system has been engineered appropriately. We’re seeing as much as 12 % further yield popping out, significantly in much less sunny areas akin to Northern Eire,” he mentioned.
“In Europe, Eight-12 %, relying on the place you’re, is actually one thing that we really feel very assured in and our traders are on board with that at present,” added Buckland.
“We’ve needed to present this [extra] attain to our traders and chosen know-how advisors to get buy-in for the know-how, however now there is no such thing as a debate,” he mentioned.
Lightsource BP, which is 50 % owned by oil big BP, is concentrating on 10 gigawatts of photo voltaic tasks globally by 2023.
Asia has dominated the bifacial market to date, largely resulting from Chinese language subsidies for superior applied sciences. (Credit score: WoodMac)
Though not a brand new idea, bifacial modules have solely not too long ago been manufactured in considerably massive volumes. Producers are nonetheless enhancing the know-how. Trina Photo voltaic simply launched a 500-watt module, whereas others are providing clear backsheets as an alternative of a glass backing to chop weight.
There will probably be additional room for enchancment because the know-how travels alongside its very personal growth path. With that in thoughts, some cutting-edge bifacial panels have been included as a part of the Lightsource BP’s four.9-megawatt system constructed for brick producer IBStock, to serve an identical position because the Northern Eire web site has completed for earlier know-how.
Jan Muller, technical and asset administration director on the developer Solarcentury, expects to see his personal firm develop its first full-scale challenge this 12 months. They’re additionally embedding some small sections of bifacial into bigger tasks to construct up their very own financial institution of knowledge. That’s essential given how a lot of the information obtainable to builders in the mean time is coming immediately from the producers.
Muller expects module availability to be one other driving issue as increasingly more of their output switches to bifacial.
In the intervening time each Solarcentury and Lightsource BP are utilizing or intend to make use of double glass modules. They decrease degradation charges which Muller mentioned also can take some threat out of the funding.
To trace or to not monitor
All in all then, bifacial affords extra energy, much less degradation and if mixed with trackers, a much less peaky manufacturing curve.
“We’re now pushing at an open door. They actually go hand in hand with trackers,” Muller mentioned, which implies a decrease proportion of floor protection at every web site, much less visible influence and higher biodiversity.
Lightsource BP expects to stay with fastened bifacial methods within the U.Okay and different components of northern Europe for now. This month it confirmed a bifacial plant in Spain would certainly even be making use of trackers. Buckland mentioned there could possibly be a chance for service provider energy to stimulate tracker use as energy costs are higher towards the ends of these early morning and late afternoon manufacturing tails.
Gridserve accomplished the primary bifacial plus tracker system within the U.Okay. final 12 months. That 34.7-megawatt web site additionally advantages from a 30 megawatt-hour battery.
“The extra synergy that you simply get from including completely different applied sciences collectively is what provides you the additional worth that you do not have for every particular person know-how by itself,” Gridserve CEO Toddington Harper advised GTM when the challenge grid-connected in December 2019.
“I might say it’s totally replicable. That’s most likely essentially the most thrilling factor about this challenge for us,” he added.