In this project, IFE’s department for Solar Power Systems collaborates with Scatec in research and development related to the use of two-sided (“bifacial”) solar cell modules in large-scale solar power plants. Solar cell modules based on bifacial technology can produce more electricity than traditional solar cell modules by also utilizing the light that hits the back of the module, and can therefore produce extra energy from the light reflected from the ground and from the surroundings. To increase energy production even more, such modules can also be combined with so-called “trackers”, which direct the modules towards the sun as it moves across the sky. Bifacial technology is not new in itself. However, the price of bifacial modules has only very recently become low enough to make the technology commercially interesting for use in large-scale solar power plants. Scatec Solar has been out early and already in 2019 opened the world’s first large-scale solar power plant based on the combination of bifacial modules and trackers. This power plant is located in Benban, Egypt and consists of almost 1.1 million bifacial modules! The power plant alone produces about 930 million kWh of clean energy each year, enough to provide electricity to 420,000 households and provide savings of about 423,000 tonnes of CO2.

In IPN JANUS, IFE and Scatec work together to more precisely understand the increase in electricity production that is made possible by the use of bifacial modules and to gain competence and experience on how such power plants should be built and operated in the most efficient way possible. This will give Scatec an important competitive advantage and strengthen the company in its further growth into the demanding global market.