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Embracing the Dark Side: Bifacial Solar Panels in the Middle East

Bracewell’s Tom Swarbrick and Andrej Kormuth have a look at the potential for bifacial solar in the Middle East, referencing the 800MW Al-Kharsaah PV IPP in Qatar, which set a world record tariff for the production of unsubsidised solar energy.

Bifacial panels have been ‘The Next Big Thing’ for a while now. They collect solar energy on both sides; directly from the sun and reflected upwards from the ground. Manufacturers promise higher production for a modest increase in capital expenditure. This should be a compelling proposition for an industry experiencing unprecedented pricing pressures.

But the technology has been slow to gain traction. The additional variables affecting the production of the underside cause difficulties in calculating the precise increase to energy yield. For example, grass reflects sunlight better than tarmac. This is a problem for developers and lenders, who require certainty of input to provide a predictable revenue stream.

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