The SUNLAB team is part of the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Research in Photonics. It is a leading laboratory in photonics and renewable energy, focusing on next-generation bifacial, multi-junction, and concentrator solar devices. Photonics is the study of light and its interaction with matter, and it has applications in a wide range of fields, including telecommunications, medicine, and renewable energy.

“Our proposed characterization method, the scaled rear irradiance method, is an improved method for indoor-measuring and modeling of bifacial devices that is representative of outdoor environmental conditions,” explains Erin Tonita, lead author and a Physics Ph.D. student studying under Professor Karin Hinzer, whose research group develops new ways to harness the sun’s energy.

“Implementation of this method into international standards for such panels can enable predictions of outdoor bifacial panel performance to within 2% absolute”, says Tonita, who expects the benefits of this methodology to include:

  • Allowing comparisons between existing and emerging bifacial technologies.
  • Enhancing performance via ground cover-specific design optimization.
  • Increasing solar panel deployments in non-traditional markets.
  • Reducing investment risk in bifacial panel deployments.
  • Improving bifacial panel manufacture datasheets.

Bifacial photovoltaics are expected to provide over 16% of global energy demand by 2050. Subsequently offering several advantages over traditional solar panels, including increased energy production, higher efficiency, and lower levelized cost of energy (LCOE).