How much does it cost to install bifacial solar panels?
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Bifacial Solar Panel Cost Guide
Updated: August 19, 2022
If you do not plan to or cannot install solar panels on your roof, bifacial solar panels can be a good choice. These modules absorb light on both sides rather than on the top. So, they can produce significantly more energy than traditional solar systems even though they are not designed for roofs. This means you can install fewer panels in unconventional places for the same benefits and solar power.
The national average cost range to install bifacial solar panels is $6,000 to $12,000, with most people paying around $8,000 for 10 bifacial solar panels mounted in a porch cover style. This project’s low cost is $5,000 for 10 bifocal polycrystalline panels mounted around the edge of a home. The high cost is $14,000 for 10 bifacial solar panels on a moving mount to capture more light.
What Are Bifacial Solar Panels?
Bifacial solar modules are essentially crystalline solar panels with solar cells on the front and back sides. This means they can capture sunlight from the front or back. They can also capture reflected sunlight from the water, ground, and other areas, making them significantly more effective at producing solar energy than standard panels.
Most bifacial solar modules are monocrystalline, meaning they are single silicon crystals. However, some are polycrystalline, making them cheaper but less efficient.
Because of their construction, bifacial solar modules cannot be installed on the roof. If they are used in a residential setting, they must have more creative installations. Popular methods include patio covers, pavilions, or creating a ledge around the home’s perimeter. You can also get mounts that tilt the panels to capture more light so that you use fewer if you are worried about space. Because of these different installation methods, labor and installation are generally more costly for this type than roof-mounted modules.
Bifacial Solar Panel Cost Calculator
Bifacial solar panels have a range of costs. They can be monocrystalline or polycrystalline and are designed to have a frame or to be completely frameless. This allows more flexibility in cost and how you install them. Below are the average costs for bifacial solar modules based on an average installation size of 10 panels.
Polycrystalline panels are the least expensive and most basic, while a frameless monocrystalline panel is the most expensive, versatile, and efficient. Standard installations are generally a monocrystalline panel with a frame. Each type comes in a range of watts. Each side usually has two wattages, and it is not uncommon for one side to have 250 watts while the other has 400 for a combined 650 watts per panel. Basic polycrystalline panels typically have watts ranging between 500 and 600 total, while stand monocrystalline panels have watts between 650 and 750. Some of the highest-quality panels have watts that are 800 or above. The more watts a panel has, the more energy it produces, so these panels lower your energy bills more.
Bifacial Solar Panels Efficiency
Bifacial solar panels are some of the most efficient solar systems available. They range from 20% to 27% efficiency. They also produce roughly 50% more energy than traditional solar panels. While most bifacial solar panels are monocrystalline, some can be polycrystalline. Monocrystalline bifacial panels have the highest efficiency ratings and produce the most energy. However, even a polycrystalline bifacial solar module produces considerably more energy than a traditional solar cell.
Efficiency and energy production can be influenced by how the cells are arranged. By using a tilting mount that moves with the sun, you can increase energy production more.
Bifacial Solar Panels Advantages and Disadvantages
Bifacial solar modules can produce considerably more energy than traditional crystalline panels. This means you can use fewer and still meet your home’s energy needs. They are highly efficient, and most are thin with a black surface, making them an attractive addition.
The downside is they cannot be mounted on the roof. They need special mounting, which can make them much more expensive. Some homeowners have the space to use them as patio covers or install them in an area where they can capture the most light. Others, however, must create an awning around their home’s perimeter, detracting from the property’s curb appeal.
This can be a positive for some homeowners. If you do not want panels mounted on your roof, these offer other mounting options and provide better efficiency and more energy production.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Tariff exemption. While bifacial solar panels had been granted a tariff exemption under the Trump administration, this has since been overturned. Like all solar panels, bifacial panels now have an average tariff rate of 18%.
- Top manufacturers. Many top solar companies also make bifacial panels, including LG, Solaris, Suntech, SoliTek, and Canadian Solar.
- Inverters. All solar systems need inverters to work properly. This can add $400 to $3,000 to your project’s cost.
- Lifespan. Bifacial modules have an average lifespan of 25 to 50 years, depending on the manufacturer, location, and upkeep.
- Usage. While bifacial panels can be used in residential settings, they are not always the best choice. You need the space to install them somewhere other than the roof, meaning some homes are not a good fit.
- Mounts. Mounting for a bifacial system can increase costs. If you choose tilting systems or elaborate patio covers, your costs are higher than a simple stand.
- How much do bifacial solar panels cost?
The average cost to install 10 bifacial solar panels is $6,000 to $12,000.
- Who manufactures bifacial solar?
Most solar manufacturers make bifacial solar cells, including LG, Canadian Solar, and Solaris.
- Are bifacial solar panels transparent?
They are not transparent like a window, but you can see in the panel and the cells inside. They cast a shadow on the ground.
- Are bifacial panels a good choice for homes?
Bifacial panels are not necessarily good for all homes. They cannot be mounted on the roof, cutting down on the number of places where they can be installed. Some homes do not have the space to mount them elsewhere.