A Review of Crystalline Silicon Bifacial Photovoltaic Performance Characterisation and Simulation

Tian Shen Liang, Mauro Pravettoni, Chris Deline, Joshua S. Stein, Radovan Kopecek, Jai Prakash Singh, Wei Luo, Yan Wang, Armin G. Aberle, Yong Sheng Khoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus Citations


Bifacial photovoltaic (PV) technology has received considerable attention in recent years due to the potential to achieve higher annual energy yield compared to its monofacial counterpart. Higher annual energy yield is a crucial factor (even more than to further reduce the module costs) because, with the use of higher power PV modules, the high BOS (Balance of System) costs can be reduced, resulting in the lowest LCOE (levelised cost of energy). The International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaic (ITRPV) predicts an upward trend for the shares of crystalline silicon (c-Si) bifacial PV cells and modules in the global PV market in the next decade, i.e., more than 35% in 2028. Two key enabling factors have been identified to promote the widespread use of c-Si bifacial PV devices, namely the bifacial PV performance measurement method/standard for indoor characterisation and comprehensive simulation models for outdoor performance characterisation. Both will increase the bankability of bifacial PV technology. In this paper, a comprehensive review of the state-of-the-art of the c-Si bifacial PV performance characterisation and simulation is presented. First, an overview of the indoor characterisation of c-Si bifacial PV cells and modules is presented, followed by an overview of the outdoor characterisation of c-Si bifacial PV modules and the draft technical specification, IEC TS 60904-1-2. The second part of this paper reviews the current status of bifacial PV performance modelling, which includes the three primary sub-models: optical, electrical, and thermal models. This paper also provides an overview of the required future research to address the challenges associated with the characterisation and simulation of c-Si bifacial PV devices.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)116-148
Number of pages33
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-72887


  • bifacial photovoltaics
  • crystalline silicon
  • energy yield
  • system performance


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