Implications of Seasonal and Spatial Albedo Variation on the Energy Output of Bifacial Solar Farms: A Global Perspective
Muhammed Tahir Patel1, Mohammad Ryyan Khan1, Aaesha Alnuaimi2, Omar Albadwawwi2, Jim J. John2, Muhammad A. Alam1
1Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, United States
/2Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The energy gain of a bifacial solar farm (compared to its monofacial counterpart) is majorly dictated by the magnitude of the ground albedo. There is a persistent suspicion that the seasonal and spatial variability of albedo will lead to dramatic fluctuation and significant loss of overall bifacial energy output, and a high-precision albedo measurement is a prerequisite for bifacial LCOE calculation.  In this paper, we assess the hypothesis by calculating the energy output of bifacial solar farms across the world based on satellite-derived seasonal/spatial albedo data.  Our results show that energy output is actually not a sensitive function of seasonal albedo, a low-resolution time-averaged albedo would produce comparable (within 1%) results. We conclude that high-quality economic viability and LCOE-assessment is possible even with low-resolution albedo information. 

Area: Sub-Area 11.1: Solar Resource Assessment and Variability Modeling