Canadian Solar Inc. has delivered 10 MW of its bifacial PV modules, the BiKu CS3U-PB-AG that made its debut at Solar Power International in Anaheim this year, to Neighborhood Power for four solar power projects near Portland, Ore. This represents the first significant delivery of bifacial solar PV modules into the United States.
Bifacial solar modules can generate energy not only from the front side, but from the back side as well. With Canadian Solar’s Biku bifacial modules, the sunlight on the ground is reflected to the glass-covered back side of the module, producing extra solar energy in a solar system, significantly reducing the solar system’s levelized cost of electricity (LCOE), hence higher return on investment (ROI). Depending on the albedo (reflectivity) of the ground and other site conditions, daily energy yield for projects with bifacial modules can be 5-20% higher than with conventional polymer backsheet modules. This improved yield can dramatically enhance the economics of solar system deployments.
Canadian Solar is a leader in bifacial polycrystalline PERC (passivated emitter and rear contact) solar technology. By innovatively integrating bifacial and Ku (dual cell) technologies, the BiKu module can reach up to 370W on the front side, using poly PERC in a 144 cell format. Canadian Solar’s bifacial module comes with a 30mm frame for easy handling, saving significant installation costs.
Neighborhood Power chose Canadian Solar bifacial modules because the additional energy gain is significant enough to compensate for the new tariffs on solar modules and steel mounting equipment, and the extra power gain made their solar projects economical again.
“When the solar industry was hit with tariffs on solar modules and steel, it seemed that rising landed costs had priced these projects out of the market,” said Stephen Gates, President, Neighborhood Power Corporation. “But with the additional power generated by Canadian Solar’s bifacial modules, delivered in the quantities and in the timeframe we needed, we were able to make the project economics work and bring these projects online by the end of 2018 as planned.”
Canadian Solar BiKu bifacial modules are warranted for 30 years, 5 years longer than the industry standard, and have a lower degradation rate, which results in 20% additional yield over the lifetime of the solar module. When added to the additional daily bifacial yield of 5-20%, Canadian Solar BiKu bifacial modules deliver up to 44% additional lifetime value compared to conventional modules.
“Canadian Solar foresaw early on that bifacial technology had the potential to be a game changer in the economics of large-scale solar and set out to be a leader in the development and deployment of bifacial solar modules. Our early deployment with Neighborhood Power in the U.S. is one proof point of our successful execution on that strategy,” said Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar. “All together, Canadian Solar has delivered and deployed over 200 MW of bifacial solar modules for customers and our own solar projects around the world. We pledge to continue innovating and delivering on the breakthrough products and services that will soon make solar PV the most cost-effective source of power generation everywhere.”
— Solar Builder magazine