Techno-economic comparison of bifacial vs monofacial solar panels
A techno-economic analysis is performed for a solar farm with a 35 MWe installed capacity using bifacial solar panels and compared with standard monofacial solar panels at the same installed capacity level. The bifacial panel usage gain from total panel efficiency is identified from 4-year measurements to be within a range of 7.9–16.8% depending on monthly yield. A Monte Carlo simulation is carried out to forecast electricity prices under uncertainty. In terms of Net Present Value, it is found that the bifacial farm yields 12.6% higher values than the monofacial options under reference assumptions. An incremental internal rate of return (IRR) analysis is carried out yielding an IRR for the bifacial panels of 44% under various scenarios. The sensitivity analysis reveals that results are highly sensitive to discount rate and lifetime, and less sensitive to electricity prices. SWOT analysis performed to compare the bifacial with the monofacial panel and evaluate panels according to internal and external factors. The study was concluded with a summary of the technical specifications based on the test results. The results were used to identify that 12.2% added net present value corresponding to $186.7 – $214.5 per unit MW (under various electricity price trajectories) can be used as a reference for assessing the benefit for usage of bifacial PV for 35 MW type medium-size projects. In summary, it is suggested that bifacial solar PV with its outstanding techno-economic results can be the driving force of the growing solar PV market.
First published online 08 July 2022
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