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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 465837, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/465837
Research Article

Characterization of a Bifacial Photovoltaic Panel Integrated with External Diffuse and Semimirror Type Reflectors

1Solar Energy Research Institute, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia
2Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), 43600 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Received 25 September 2012; Revised 18 April 2013; Accepted 4 May 2013

Academic Editor: Peter Rupnowski

Copyright © 2013 P. Ooshaksaraei et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Silicon wafer accounts for almost one-half the cost of a photovoltaic (PV) panel. A bifacial silicon solar cell is attractive due to its potential of enhancing power generation from the same silicon wafer in comparison with a conventional monofacial solar cell. The bifacial PV cell is able to capture solar radiation by back surface. This ability requires a suitable reflector appropriately oriented and separated from the cell’s rear surface. In order to optimize the bifacial solar cell performance with respect to an external back surface reflector, diffuse and semimirror reflectors were investigated at various angles and separations from the back surface. A simple bifacial solar panel, consisting of four monocrystalline Si solar cells, was designed and built. Reflection from the rear surface was provided by an extended semimirror and a white-painted diffuse reflector. Maximum power generation was observed at 30° with respect to ground for the semimirror reflector and 10° for diffuse reflector at an optimized reflector-panel separation of 115 mm. Output power enhancement of 20% and 15% from semimirror and diffuse reflectors, respectively, were observed. This loss from diffuse reflector is attributed to scattering of light beyond the rear surface capture cross-section of the bifacial solar panel.