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Two sides to the same panel: Lightsource’s bifacial technology



Bifacial (literally ‘two faced’) solar panel technology has become a hot topic across our sector in recent years due to its potential to out-perform mono-facials.  In 2019, 3% of all solar modules sold were bifacial, and this figure is predicted to climb to 10-15% this year, as we see more projects getting the green light globally.

More powerful from every angle

The key strength of bifacial solar panels is in the name – by capturing sunlight on both faces of the panel, the efficiency of energy transfer is increased by around 14%, producing more energy from the same amount of space.

In regions like Australia and the USA, where cost of labour is very expensive, this uplift in yield and increased efficiency has significant benefits to the internal rate of if return (IRR)  of projects, creating more financially viable opportunities for solar.

Case Study: Wellington Solar Farm, NSW, Australia 

We are currently building one of the first (and largest) projects in Australia to deploy bifacial panels at scale. Wellington Solar Farm is a 200MW utility scale solar plant located near Wellington, NSW, and when completed will feature:

  • 500,714 Canadian Solar Bi-HiKu panels
  • 435,000MWh of clean, renewable electricity per year – enough to power 72,500 homes
  • 350,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions displaced- equivalent to taking 121,580 cars off the roads.

Durable, with a longer lifetime

According to a study by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, there’s around 5.4GW of bifacial solar capacity operating globally, predominantly in Asia, with that number set to rise tenfold and achieve equal distribution across Asia and North America in the next five years.

This popularity with developers is not just due to increases in efficiency, but also durability. Bifacial modules have glass on both sides, which increases the energy production but also extends the lifetime of the product when compared to its mono-facial counterpart.

Heavyweight champions

These modules are also often up to 30% heavier than regular mono-facial panels, as they’re built to withstand significant weather conditions. The glass on a bifacial module can handle 2.5cm hail (typically the largest it will get), and many manufacturers use glass that’s 2mm thick, as the flexibility reduces the number of micro-cracks, and allows the glass to bend, rather than break. As a result, bifacial modules can be used in a wide range of locations where solar would not have previously been considered a good option.

The extra weight increases durability of the panels, cutting the frequency of part replacement, saving time and money. Due to this, the manufacturers guarantee includes a lower degradation rate (the decline in output that all solar panels experience over time) – another significant gain in IRR and project viability.

But it’s not without its challenges

The panels do not stand alone, they fit within the framework of a project as a whole, and so many elements of site design have to be adjusted to fit.

Investor assurance is key

Another challenge is the bankability of the modules with financial institutions. To a point, bifacial technology is still ‘new’ and can be interpreted as a ‘risky’ investment. Early adopters, like ourselves are overcoming this hurdle by strengthening R&D and demonstrating rigorous testing.

As there are no international standards yet for bifacial panels, testing products consistently can be difficult. To overcome this, we’ve been working closely with module providers on pre-shipment testing . We’ve built healthy relationships with the top 10 global solar manufacturers, which has allowed us to place significant orders, currently earmarked for projects across Europe, the US and Australia.

What’s next?

While bifacial panels are in many ways superior to mono-facial panels, there is still potential to improve performance further. Without getting into deep technical specifics, the next step would be to upgrade the type of silicon wafer used in the cells of the panels, from traditional P-type to the more expensive but more efficient N-type. We are currently trialling N-type cells on one of our projects in the UK and look forward to seeing the results.



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Solar Energy Empowers Massive Electric Vehicle Charging Hub at the UK’s National Exhibition Centre




The UK’s largest charging hub for electric vehicles, the pb pulse Gigahub™ which has been in operation since 7th September 2023, is powered by an 80 KW solar installation enough to supply up to 180 electric vehicles simultaneously with energy. The huge solar carport was built by EV Network at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham and has become another crucial leap towards developing a reliable electric charging infrastructure in Birmingham and beyond. The 80 kWp photovoltaic installation was accomplished by sustainable energy solutions expert Ineco Energy using bi-facial PV modules from LONGi Solar, the world-largest manufacturer of PV modules and solar wafers. Furthermore, SolarEdge provided the smart energy solutions and Bluetop Solar Parking the solar carport installations for the charging hub.

Solar energy supports the transition to electric vehicles

The transition to electric vehicles has to date been slow. A main reason is the lack of EV charging infrastructure which needs to scale up fast in order to meet the future demand. At the same time, the industry is looking for solutions that support the idea of providing green energy with green energy to drive European decarbonization efforts. With solar energy being the fastest growing and most economic renewable energy source, it will play a key role in the entire EV transition going forward.

“With transport accounting for over 24% of total UK emissions, EV Infrastructure is an essential part of the UK’s transition towards Net Zero. The NEC Gigahub is a flagship site that will showcase some of its 7m annual visitors and 60m traffic count what the forecourt of the future looks like, today. Powered by renewables including from the on-site solar canopy in the day and light up by LEDs at night, the charging hub provides clean and convenient EV charging infrastructure. LONGi Solar has been a reliable partner for us providing highly reliable and efficient modules. For the installation, we decided to use bi-facial solar panels for maximum output given the application,” said Angus Rose, Director of Ineco Energy who have installed solar system delivering over 13.5 GWH of cleaner cheaper electricity and or the equivalent of powering nearly 4000 UK homes.

“We are proud to support a project like this new Gigahub at the heart of the UK motorway grid at the NEC in Birmingham. At LONGi we follow the concept of “solar for solar”, meaning to produce clean energy with clean energy. Charging electric vehicles with solar energy thus corresponds to our DNA at LONGi”, said Sean McSorley, Sales Manager UK at LONGi.

“Our choice or suppliers and contractors in the creation of this site were key, as a flagship site, we required the best-in-class service on very tight project timelines. Working with Ineco has been exemplary, their understanding of not just the operational project, but the significance of the site has been important. With so many moving parts, flexibility, expertise and efficiency is in high demand. Working with Angus and the team at Ineco has been perfect, the project delivered brilliantly enabling us to deliver this incredible site,” said Reza Shaybani, CEO and Co-Founder of The EV Network.

From 2012 to 2022, LONGi produced 290 GW of photovoltaic products, resulting in a cumulative clean energy output of over 1.15 million GWh. Based on the average emission factor of the global power grid, estimated by the IEA (International Energy Agency), this is equivalent to avoiding 536 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. That accounts for 1.46% of the total global energy-related carbon emissions in 2022.

LONGi proposed the concept of “Solar for solar” as far back as the 24th United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2018. Behind this concept lies the ambition of producing clean energy from clean energy. In 2020, LONGi joined the RE100, EP100, EV100 initiatives in succession and participated in the SBTi, becoming the first Chinese company to join all four global initiatives. This year, LONGi’s near-term target has been approved by the SBTi, aligning with the 1.5℃ target in the Paris Agreement.

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Turbo Energy participates in the expansion of Pamesa’s solar photovoltaic Project




Pamesa Grupo Empresarial has expanded its solar photovoltaic plan by installing monocrystalline silicon modules and a set of all-in-one SunBox Smart equipment from the company Turbo Energy, with the aim of generating and storing solar electricity to be consumed efficiently and maximising CO2 savings.

The SunBox equipment uses intelligent management software that automatically and instantly optimises the use of solar electricity from the panels. In this sense, the company explains that “the software makes decisions on consumption or storage of the energy generated by the sun depending on parameters such as the building’s energy consumption schedules, the cost of electricity at any given time or the present and future weather at a specific location”.

For its part, the company IM2 Energía Solar, a member of the Umbrella Capital group, of which Turbo Energy is also a member, has installed 256 kW of solar panels and 50 kWh of batteries for the Pamesa Cerámica offices, which supply the entire office and showroom complex. The Logistics Centre has 6.36 kW of panels and 107 kWh of batteries that will be used mainly to power the forklift trucks that transport the material during the day and night.

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Digital Twin technology leader Cityzenith pledges to reverse carbon emissions in our most polluted cities



Clean Cities – Clean Future

Cityzenith CEO Michael Jansen has launched a global ‘Clean Cities – Clean Future’ campaign to help our most polluted urban centres become carbon neutral, by donating the company’s Digital Twin platform SmartWorldPro2 to key cities, one at a time.

Cities produce more than 70%* of the earth’s greenhouse gases, but Jansen says use of cutting-edge data and AI will change this dramatically:

“Since our inception we have been using these tools to deliver custom climate resilience applications to greenfield cities, real estate developments, and infrastructure projects.

“We know the issues and now have the right data aggregation, analysis, and visualization capabilities to help solve them for cities, and those who design, build, and manage them.

“The world’s top 100 most-polluting cities produce 18%** of global urban emissions and we will meet this challenge head-on, by going right to the biggest contributors first. As one megacity reaps the benefits, so others and governments will follow their example. What works for one will work for all. That is the beauty of SmartWorldPro2.

“Launching this ‘Clean Cities – Clean Future’ initiative marks a milestone for us and shareable, networked, city-scale Digital Twin deployments. Digital Twins were first developed to aggregate, analyze, and visualize vastly complex information in manufacturing plants and building construction sites, but have evolved into a powerful aid to urban climate resilience and lowering carbon emissions.

“We’ve spoken publicly since 2013 about Digital Twin technology’s potential to accelerate energy transition and it’s now a reality. Early Cityzenith-led carbon emission reduction projects included efforts in San Francisco, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Chicago. These culminated in a World Smart City Award recognition, plus a World Cities Summit Young Leader appointment and letter of support from the C40 Cities Climate Action Group to jointly explore collaboration.

“Our focus has expanded to include large-scale commercial projects in cities as in the Orlando Sports + Entertainment District and greenfield ‘smart cities’ like Amaravati in India.

“In Amaravati, by consolidating myriads of climate related data points, the goal was to show how architects could use advanced AI integrations in SmartWorldPro to simulate and design housing schemes to lower carbon emissions and cut average street temperatures dramatically in high summer.

“Today we are helping partners all over the world leverage Digital Twin power across their district, infrastructure, campus and real estate projects to transition from fossil fuel dependency to carbon neutrality.

“But no one seems to be helping cities to implement this technology, and that’s why we decided to step in and make our pledge.

“We’ve asked people all over the world to join our mission. Where the world’s governments have backed off or just don’t know what to do, We the People need to lead the way. To learn more and find out how you can get involved, visit our pledge campaign page here

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