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Types of Solar PV Modules

Ever since solar panels came into existence, they have undergone various transformations. With advancement, a different category of solar panels, bifacial panels, has already hit the markets.

The first type – the ancestors of bifacial panels – is monofacial solar panels.

But the million-dollar question is what is the difference between monofacial and bifacial solar panels? Which one is better?

To understand these bits in detail, you need to understand the basic structure and functioning of both types first.

Let’s begin with the monofacial solar panels.

What Are Monofacial Solar Panels?

Monofacial Solar Panels

Monofacial solar panels are the traditional form of solar panels with solar cells on one side. They absorb the sun’s energy from one photovoltaic side and convert it into electrical energy for charging electronic appliances.

The majority of solar panels available in the market are monofacial modules. In other words, we can say that these solar panels are much more popular than bifacial modules.

Now let’s learn what bifacial solar panels are.

What Are Bifacial Solar Panels?

Bifacial Solar Panels

As stated above, bifacial panels are not as widely popular as monofacial modules. Probably, because they’re newer; hence, more expensive.

However, the good news is that India is steadily shifting towards bifacial technology since the efficiency of these modern-day panels is very high.

Unlike monofacial solar panels, the bifacial panels are double-sided. It means that the solar cells are fitted on both sides of the panels.

Therefore, this solar panel can absorb energy from both sides. Isn’t that great?

What is even more interesting is the way the bifacial solar panels function. The front side of the panel absorbs direct sunlight when the rays fall on the surface.

When the rays fall on the ground and bounce back, the back side of the panels catch those rays and convert them into electricity. So, the yield is also almost double.

Undoubtedly these solar panels capture more sunlight due to their unique construction.

But is it only the structure and the function that acts as a differentiating factor between mono-facial and bifacial panels?

Let’s find out!

What Is The Difference Between Monofacial And Bifacial Solar Panels?

Cost, weight, efficiency, durability, and other factors must be considered when differentiating between the two.

To understand their differences, we need to study the advantages of each solar panel and determine how effective they are based on the abovementioned factors.

Monofacial Solar Panels: Top 3 Advantages

The advantages of monofacial solar panels are as follows:

1. Generally, solar panels are expensive. However, compared to the bifacial panels, the monofacial modules are more affordable.

It’s easier to install them as well. Since just one side catches the sunlight, they’re less expensive than bifacial modules in theory and otherwise.

2. Another benefit of monofacial solar panels is that they are lighter than bifacial panels. Since there are no solar cells on the back side of the monofacial solar panels, they aren’t as heavy as their predecessors.

3. Monofacial solar panels can work on all surfaces and do not need a reflective surface to operate. This factor is yet another reason for the lower cost of these panels.

Bifacial Solar Panels: Top 5 advantages

Now you know the benefits of conventional solar panels. Let’s walk you through the benefits of the bifacial panels now. 

1. The bifacial panels provide 11-12% efficiency. Since these panels provide more energy with fewer resources, they are highly efficient than monofacial modules. 

2. Unlike monofacial solar panels, bifacial modules offer higher durability. They do not crack under rough climatic conditions. They’re also made resistant to heat.

3. The space requirement for installation is less than monofacial solar panels. 

Why? Because it doesn’t take as many bifacial modules to produce the same amount of electricity that many monofacial solar panels generate.  

4. Another benefit is that the bifacial panels can be set up at any angle. You don’t need to analyse or calculate the right mounting and tilt angle for their installation.   

5. They don’t need trackers to function. If you’re wondering what a tracker is – it is a technology that adjusts the solar panel angles. Also, they come with a 30-year-warranty. 

By studying the differences, we can say that each type has distinct features as well as drawbacks. 

Our verdict? In terms of efficiency, bifacial solar panels are better. However, when the price is concerned, monofacial solar panels are, as of now, hands down the better option. 

In reality, you can’t predict which solar panel is better solely based on the features that are advertised. 

A lot about solar panels and their efficiency depends upon the amount of sunlight that a house receives, the power consumption, and most importantly, the budget of the customer. 

Only upon a detailed discussion with your solar installation company can you decide which solar panels are going to be the best options for you.