07 Sep 2019
When Solar industry is working on finding various ways to optimize Solar Project cost, second challenge has already surfaced, land use impact. Please do not misinterpret the headline here, since monofacial isn’t going out of the market. Solar PV industry is still working to deploy monofacial particularly in countries where land is still not perceived obstacle. But many are looking beyond mono facial into the future bifacial. The increased generation from the bifacial plant results in higher revenue in turn, higher IRR. Though the higher CAPEX which is attributed to the higher cost of bifacial modules, the Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) is lower for bifacial. As bifacial technology establishes itself in the market, module cost is likely to fall further to be competitive with monofacial. This will have significant impact on the financial models. Bifacial technology is no more a future vision, it is becoming the reality.
For bifacial module, there is a key challenge, i.e. its weight due to double glass with frame. This bifacial module is significantly heavier than monofacial module. This obstacle in adaptation of bifacial has been addressed in Swan series with transparent backsheet. It is lighter in weight. With its competitive cost performance, it is poised to expedite the transition towards bifacial. Swan bifacial is conceptualized on big idea “additional power and reliability all at a significantly lower LCOE.” It promises to maximize the productivity per square meter without adding weight. Once the cost difference between mono and bifacial shrinks further, unless the installation scenario of 100% shade or complete cover of the back of module, bifacial can increase generation on any surface type. Moreover, rather than a revolutionary technology, bifacial generation is an incremental improvement with proven technology. It needs much shorter time to accumulate enough data for modelling validation and bankability metrics.
Some developers might soon be moving to bifacial completely as part of its project leap. It is estimated that over 30% of the monofacial pipeline projects will be switching over to bifacial. The transition will accelerate when the cost gap is minimized. We have seen a dramatic growth in Swan demand. Over a period of time, bifacial will purely serve the utility market, while mono facial will continue to be available for residential rooftop.