Solar panel technology is constantly evolving since it penetrated the consumer electronics domain in the past 5 years. One of the prominent innovations that is picking up traction is the bifacial technology – generate power from both sides of a module. These modules can produce more specific power per unit area (25-30% more) than their conventional counterparts. However, currently, they represent less than 1% of the global solar capacity.
Canadian solar will supply bifacial and regular modules for a 1.8 GW project from EDF Renewables in North America. This is for multiple projects scheduled for commissioning in US, Mexico and Candia from 2019 to 2023. This EDF deal is significant as it indicates the growing commercial trust in the bifacial solar technology. The levelized energy cost of canadian bifacial modules decreased considerably over the past years making it more viable for commercial projects. This is the largest order in the 18-year history of the company. Furthermore, this is a major milestone for this vertically integrated tier-1 panel brand.
|10% and 0 for residential
As reported by GTM, over 3.1 GW of bifacial modules are online as of 2018. There are various other under-construction projects using this technology, namely, the 160MW PV system in Georgia. This project uses the Longi bifacial panels. However, this general trend of accelerated PV adoption (commercial and residential) and wind power investments in US comes from the ITC phase down. The solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the US analogous of the Australian STC. It came into existence in 2006 to boost the PV growth in the country. After an initial extension in 2015, the ITC starts its phase down from 2020 (as shown in the table above). As a result of this gradual phase-out of ITC, coupled with the increase in tariffs brought about by the Section 201, we see higher PV uptake in US. Again, this ITC phase down is analogous to the annually decreasing government rebates that currently exist in Australia.