New double-sided solar panels installed on Kilkenny dairy farm

The first bifacial module (double-sided solar panel) test site in the Republic of Ireland has been unveiled in Co. Kilkenny by Elgin Energy.

The new solar technology has been installed on a dairy farm in Skeoughvosteen, Co. Kilkenny, according to the energy firm. The test site will monitor the energy output of this new set-up.

Bifacial modules produce electricity from both sides of the panel by harnessing energy from sunlight on the front of the panel and the reflected rays from the surface below, in this case grass.

The bifacial test site was delivered by Elgin Energy in partnership with panel manufacturer, LONGi, and global inverter manufacturer, SolarEdge. The modules and associated equipment were installed by Irish renewable company Enerpower. Each panel will be monitored individually using SolarEdge’s optimisers and monitoring software.

The research project will examine the production profile of bifacial panels in Ireland and conduct a direct comparison of energy output from monofacial (one-sided) and bifacial panels. Based on research carried out in other markets, bifacial panels have been reported to provide an uplift of 5-10% in comparison to monofacial panels.

Speaking about the innovative test site, Ronan Kilduff, managing director at Elgin Energy, said:“We are very excited to launch this local research project in collaboration with LONGi and SolarEdge. This test site is the first of its kind in Ireland and will provide data that will help to inform the Irish solar industry and our development across Ireland and the UK.”

Recently, substantial progress has been made in the Irish solar industry with the first auction of the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) being successfully completed in July. Provisional results show that 63 solar projects / 800 megawatts (MW) were successful – included in that were two of Elgin Energy’s projects.

Installation of RESS solar projects are estimated to begin from the last quarter of 2021 onwards, according to Elgin.