What if both sides of a solar panel could take in light? That’s the idea pursued by researchers at the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS), National University of Singapore, and Germany’s International Solar Energy Research Center Konstanz. They’ve succeeded in developing and fabricating the first full-size interdigitated back contact (IBC) bifacial solar module in the world. The groundbreaking module could last longer and generate more power than the conventional variety.
The team’s new bifacial solar module could offer better, more efficient solar energy in the near future. It can absorb light on both its front and back sides. Their prototype was made with bifacial ZEBRA IBC solar cells, which have an efficiency of up to 22 percent. According to SERIS CEO Armin Aberle, these IBC cells are known for reliability and durability.
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Double-glass insulation enclosing the module means its warranty could be longer than most solar modules: 30 years or even more. And since the cells are bifacial – the researchers report a bifaciality of 75 percent – the module can produce up to 30 percent more power.
SERIS’ PV Module Cluster Director Wang Yan said, “With SERIS’ new module design, panels with 350 watts front-side power can be made with 60 23 percent efficient screen-printed IBC cells. Considering an additional 20 percent of power via the panel’s transparent rear surface, each 60-cell IBC bifacial module will produce a stunning 400 watts of power in the real world.”
The revolutionary solar module will be displayed at the upcoming International Photovoltaic Power Generation Conference & Exhibition from April 19 to 21 in Shanghai, China.
Aberle said, “The module technology offers world-class front side power while providing free extra power from the rear side.” He said the next step is transferring the technology to industrial partners, and the product could be on the market in around two years.
Images via Solar Research Institute of Singapore