Vertical bifacial solar farms: Physics, design, and global optimization

M. Ryyan Khan, Amir Hanna, Xingshu Sun, Muhammad A. Alam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


There have been sustained interest in bifacial solar cell technology since 1980s, with prospects of 30–50% increase in the output power from a stand-alone panel. Moreover, a vertical bifacial panel reduces dust accumulation and provides two output peaks during the day, with the second peak aligned to the peak electricity demand. Recent commercialization and anticipated growth of bifacial panel market have encouraged a closer scrutiny of the integrated power-output and economic viability of bifacial solar farms, where mutual shading will erode some of the anticipated energy gain associated with an isolated, single panel. Towards that goal, in this paper we focus on geography-specific optimization of ground-mounted vertical bifacial solar farms for the entire world. For local irradiance, we combine the measured meteorological data with the clear-sky model. In addition, we consider the effects of direct, diffuse, and albedo light. We assume the panel is configured into sub-strings with bypass-diodes. Based on calculated light collection and panel output, we analyze the optimum farm design for maximum yearly output at any given location in the world. Our results predict that, regardless of the geographical location, a vertical bifacial farm will yield 10–20% more energy than a traditional monofacial farm for a practical row-spacing of 2 m (corresponding to 1.2 m high panels). With the prospect of additional 5–20% energy gain from reduced soiling and tilt optimization, bifacial solar farm do offer a viable technology option for large-scale solar energy generation.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-248
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Energy
StatePublished - Sep 4 2017


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