Have We Been Doing Solar Wrong All Along?

You might have seen solar panels facing up to the sky. This helps catch more sunlight. But now, there are new solar panels called bifacial vertical solar panels. People in Canada, Norway, and other places are testing them. They found out these panels make more energy than they thought.

A study from the Netherlands might help us understand why this happens. Is this a better way to use solar panels? How can this change our lives? My name is Prince Likhon. Welcome to Ensure Target.

What is Solar BV PVS

Solar

Bifacial vertical solar panels, also called VPVs or BVPVs, may look like normal solar panels but have special parts. These panels have solar cells on both the front and back sides. Let’s see how they work. In a regular solar panel, sunlight hits a cell made of silicon. This knocks an electron away, and it moves to the negative side. This makes an electric current. Glass, a backing, and a frame protect the panel.

A bifacial solar panel is different because it has glass on both sides instead of a backing. You might think this doesn’t help since the back won’t get much sunlight. But these panels can be up to 15% more efficient because of reflected light, or albedo.

This works best in places with lots of reflected light like deserts or bright rooftops. It even helps on cloudy days or when snow is on the ground. So even though the extra light explains some of the energy, the mystery continues.

We haven’t talked about the up and down part of the two-sided solar panels. The extra energy might come from that. But it’s not the main reason. You can see right away what’s different about up-and-down solar panels. You also know that normal solar panels aren’t flat. To get the most energy, you should set them at the same angle as where you live.

For example, I live in a place with an angle of 42 degrees, so my solar panels should be at that angle too. It’s easy to understand. You also want to point your panels to the south to get more sunlight. So if we know how to set the angle, why do we need up-and-down solar panels?

Solar

Look at this simple chart. It’s from a study by LIPSIC University. The BVPVs face east-west. They get more power in the morning and early evening. I looked at energy demand charts. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than normal panels. Is this the secret to more power? No. This is just extra. I’ll tell you the real reason now. If you want to guess, write it down.

Vertical Bifacial Panels

Solar panels get hot when they sit in the sun all day. When machines get too hot, they don’t work as well. This happens with phones and computers too. Solar panels can also get too hot, which makes them not work as well. 

The amount of light and the temperature both change how well a solar panel works. More sunlight makes the voltage go up, but higher temperatures make it go down. When it’s very sunny and hot, solar panels can struggle to work well. This is because atoms in the panel move faster when it’s hotter, making it harder for electricity to flow through.

A group called TNO did a study in the Netherlands with special solar panels called vertical bifacial PV systems. They found out that these panels don’t get as hot as regular ones. They stay closer to the normal temperature outside, so they work better than other solar panels when it’s hot and sunny.

Results

Vertical bifacial solar panels stay cooler than horizontal ones. This helps them make more energy. Bas van Auken, who wrote a paper about this, said that cooler temperatures help make more energy, especially on very sunny days. These panels can make up to 4% more energy on sunny days and about 2.5% more energy each year.

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This might not seem like a lot, but every little bit helps when it comes to solar panels. When there are many panels in one place, small improvements add up. So, what does this mean for us? Vertical bifacial solar panels are better at making power in the same space.

This is good news for people who like these types of panels. Are there any problems? Well, you could ask if there are any downsides to using these panels.

Downsides

T&O’s study used computer models, so it might not be perfect. Their solar panels were not working for six weeks in March and April. Sometimes, new technology seems great but has problems in the real world. It’s good to be careful.

Bifacial vertical solar panels have been around since the 1940s. They are not as common as horizontal ones because they cost more. They need special materials and mounting equipment. Also, both sides of the panel need care and this can be more work.

Vertical bifacial solar panels might not be the best choice all the time. But T&O says they stay cooler and last longer. There are times when they are better.

Vertical solar panels use less space than horizontal ones. You can’t put too many together or they block sunlight. But you can grow small crops like peas and carrots under them because they don’t block much sun. This way, we can use land for both energy and food.

Vertical PV

Solar engineering has a special part called acrovoltaics. It looks for the best ways to mix solar farming with regular farming. Vertical solar panels work well in this area because they can fit between rows of plants. 

This idea is not just for farms. Toronto wants to use vertical solar panels near highways and train tracks to lower noise and make clean energy. Some people are making smaller panels that can be used on apartment balconies.

Solar

Over Easy Solar, a Norwegian company makes small vertical solar panels for rooftops. Last year, they put a big solar panel system on a building in Oslo. Their results were better than regular tilted solar panels.

Are vertical solar panels the best choice? Not always. Sometimes horizontal ones might be better for different reasons. We need more tests and studies to know for sure. However early results show that vertical panels can work better than horizontal ones, especially on solar farms and big rooftops.

This shows that trying new things and working together can make things better, even if we thought we understood them well. Vertical solar panels could become more popular in the future. Do you want vertical solar panels where you live? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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I'm Prince Likhon, I'm a 20-year-old CSE Graduate whose life's passion is Technology, and I'm on a mission to make the most FUN and USEFUL Tech article on the Planet!

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