Joule, Rodríguez-Gallegos et al.: "Global Techno-Economic Performance of Bifacial and Tracking Photovoltaic Systems" (@Joule_CP), published monthly by Cell Press, is a home for outstanding and insightful research, analysis, and ideas addressing the need for more sustainable energy.
While this work considers standard silicon-based solar cells, Rodríguez-Gallegos and colleagues next plan to analyze the potential of tracking systems combined with pricey, top-of-the-line solar materials with higher efficiencies (called tandem technologies), which are currently limited to heavy-duty concentrator photovoltaics and space applications.
Research efforts tend to focus on further boosting energy output from solar power systems by improving solar cell efficiency, but the energy yield per panel can also be increased in other ways.
"The results are stable, even when accounting for changes in the weather conditions and in the costs from the solar panels and the other components of the photovoltaic system, over a fairly wide range," says first author Carlos Rodríguez-Gallegos, a research fellow at the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore, sponsored by the National University of Singapore.
Solar power systems with double-sided (bifacial) solar panels--which collect sunlight from two sides instead of one--and single-axis tracking technology that tilts the panels so they can follow the sun are the most cost effective to date, researchers report June 3rd in the journal Joule.