Photovoltaic manufacturers are working to get every last photon out of every module and they’re using an ever-increasing number of options to get there. For instance, Florida-based Advanced Solar Photonics introduced it’s new, glass-mounted, bifacial solar photovoltaic monocrystalline silicon modules, which use a variety of integrated mechanics to capture direct sunlight as well as sunlight that bounces back up from other surfaces.
“Its kind of evolutionary thinking,” said Advanced Solar Photonics’ spokesperson Lawrence Hefler. “As solar becomes economics driven,…if you can get more output for less cost you get more return overtime.”
The surface of the module can take up to 100 percent of the sun that hits the cells, and the bifacial components of the cells can capture up to 30 percent of the light that’s reflected from the ground, a roof, or whatever’s underneath the modules. The bifacial cells both have the highest efficiency on both sides,” Hefler said. “The bifacial cell itself is unique in that it’s designed that way. It’s really one cell but it’s working on both sides.”
The sun-facing surface of the modules also has a unique holographic layer of microlenses that act as an optical tracker, according to Hefler. “Rather than reflect light traditionally, it captures more of the light. It’s the transmittance ability of the glass and because of the surface it captures more of the light rather than reflect it.” Hence the devices help eliminate or reduce the need for trackers, helping reduce costs for such systems.
Instead of using an opaque backplate like many PV modules, which are backed by aluminum or substrates, the cells are encapsulated in two layers of tempered glass, which the company said is thinner than conventional modules, helping to increase efficiency by 10 percent and increasing longevity. “It will hold up better to climate elements better than traditional backing,”
The company already is fielding orders for the modules and plans to start shipping them in the third quarter of 2012, Hefler said. While he doesn’t know how many modules the company will ship this this year, he anticipated that it would reach into megawatts.