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Last updated: 10 June 2024

Bifacial Solar Panels in the UK: The Ultimate Guide (2024)

Bifacial solar panels
  • Bifacial panels have transparent front and back sides that can both capture solar energy for your home.
  • The average 4kW bifacial system will cost £5,500 - £6,600, and could save you £860 per year on your electricity bills.
  • Bifacial panels are highly efficient at capturing solar energy, potentially increasing your solar panels’ output by up to 30%.

Over the years, bifacial solar panels have rapidly grown within the solar industry and will only continue to do so. By 2030, it is predicted that bifacial cells will account for 70% of the world's PV cell market, according to the International Energy Agency. 

You might be wondering, what are bifacial solar panels, and what makes them so special? Simply put, these panels are able to absorb more solar energy than traditional panels thanks to having a solar cell fitted onto the backside, as well as the front. 

In this article, you can learn more about how bifacial panels work and whether they are a good fit for your home. If you're ready to embrace all the benefits of solar energy for your home, then we can also connect you with some of the top-rated solar installation companies near you.

Getting your installation quotes from GreenMatch can save you hours of online searching. We have a whole network of solar experts ready to offer you their free quotes. It starts by filling in our 30-second form. 

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What are bifacial solar panels and how do they work?

Bifacial Solar Panels
1 2 3 4 5 6

Bifacial and traditional, monofacial, solar panels absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity for your home. Where bifacial panels differ is in their design and the subsequent higher rate of sunlight absorption they can achieve. 

Bifacial panels are typically made up of monocrystalline cells and encased by two panes of glass. They have a slim profile with no grid lines across the surface. Sunlight that passes through the panels can then bounce from the reflective backside to be recaptured. This allows them to capture more light than monofacial panels, which will usually feature a non-reflective, opaque backsheet. 

Therefore, bifacial panels are much more efficient, up to 30% more, depending on the solar panel type, the geometry, and the height of the building according to researchers for Energies journal. This increased efficiency can result in a higher energy output and potentially greater savings on electricity bills over time.

When it comes to installation, these panels are well placed next to a reflective ground surface, like a swimming pool or sand. Alternatively, they can be installed to stand vertically, which allows them to capture energy as the sun moves throughout the day.

Installing them as part of a pergola roof will also improve their energy yield. Flat roofs, especially on high rise utility or commercial buildings, are also favourable for bifacial panels, since they can be easily positioned onto mounting systems. 

How much do bifacial solar panels cost?

For the average home in the UK, bifacial panels in the UK tend to cost between £9,900 - £11,000, including installation. Generally, because of their advanced design and specialised equipment, bifacial panels prices are around 10% higher than the cost of solar panels with a monofacial design. 

Bifacial solar panels cost
House sizeSolar system sizeSystem cost (inc. installation)
Small; 1-2 bedrooms3kW£4,950 - £6,050
Medium; 2-3 bedrooms4kW£5,500 - £6,600
Large; 4-5 bedrooms6kW£10,450 - £11,550

Bifacial PV systems have gained in popularity over time, thanks to the decreasing cost of bifacial modules, which are now more comparable in price to their monofacial counterparts. Researchers for the Energies journal predict that within a few years, monofacial modules may become scarce in the utility-scale PV market.

To help manage the costs of solar panels and other energy efficient materials, there are many government grants for solar panels in the UK.

Starting April 2022, a 0% VAT rate is applied to all energy-saving materials, including solar panels and solar batteries. With an average 4kW solar system and battery storage, households could potentially save £1,850 on supply and installation costs.

Through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), homeowners can receive payments for selling excess energy back to the grid, potentially saving up to £700 for a medium-sized home equipped with a 4kW system and battery storage.

The Energy Company Obligation Scheme (ECO4) offers low-income households the chance to upgrade their inefficient heating systems to more eco-friendly and efficient alternatives, like bifacial solar panels. Depending on your home's eligibility criteria, the ECO4 scheme could potentially provide entirely free solar panels.

Bifacial panels: Savings and break-even points

Despite the high initial costs of bifacial panels, they can further save and shorten the break-even period compared to traditional monofacial panels. 

This is thanks to the increased solar panel efficiency and subsequent increase in power output, which means you could end up needing a smaller system with fewer panels. This saves you money and space on your roof when compared to larger systems that are less spatially efficient. 

Medium-sized homes (2-3 bedrooms) with a 3kW bifacial solar system, can save around £660 per year, with a break-even point of 11 to 13 years. Take a closer look at the potential savings, lifetimes savings, and break-even point per household size below. 

Bifacial solar panels cost
House sizeSolar system sizeSystem costAverage electricity consumption (kWh)Annual savingsBreak even points (years)Lifetime savings (after breaking even)
Small; 1-2 bedrooms3kW£4,950 - £6,0501,800£57013 - 15£6,270
Medium; 2-3 bedrooms4kW£5,500 - £6,6002,700£86011 - 13£11,180
Large; 4-5 bedrooms6kW£10,450 - £11,5504,100  £1,30510 - 11£19,575

Another simple way of saving money when installing new bifacial solar panels is by comparing quotes from solar panel installation companies. However, this could lead you to spend hours searching online for the best options out there. 

Skip the hassle by filling out our quick form and we'll connect you with up to 4 vetted installers who will provide free, tailored quotes. Click the button below to get started today.

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Pros and cons of bifacial solar panels

Pros
  • Space efficiency: Bifacial solar panels require less space compared to traditional panels. This is because they can capture sunlight from both sides which maximises energy output without needing as much surface area.
  • Increased efficiency & higher power output: Bifacial panels are some of the most efficient solar panels out there and can generate 30% higher power output compared to monofacial panels.
  • Sleek appearance: Bifacial panels offer a modern and sleek appearance, free from grid lines or frames commonly seen in traditional panels.
  • Durability: Using heavy-duty tempered glass on either side of the panels helps maintain their structural integrity and durability.
Cons
  • Not ideal for most residential rooftops: Bifacial panels may not be suitable for many residential rooftops, particularly those with pitched roofs. Their optimal performance is typically achieved on flat roofs, pergola roofs, or ground-mounted systems.
  • Requirement for suitable ground space: Ground-mounted systems utilising bifacial panels require adequate ground space for installation. This may limit their feasibility for those with limited outdoor space or specific property constraints.
  • Initial cost: Supply and installation costs may come to 10% higher than traditional panels.

Are bifacial solar panels worth it in the UK

You may be considering, is it worth getting solar panels with a bifacial design? Bifacial solar panels are certainly advanced and are worth it for any home with the proper surroundings. In general, however, bifacial panels are most suited to large-scale commercial or flat-roofed residential buildings.

By capturing light from both sides, bifacial solar panels can produce more power, leading to increased efficiency and energy production. This has direct implications for the size of the solar panels and how many solar panels you need, as bifacial panels have the capacity to generate more power compared to monofacial ones. This way, they could be considered among the best solar panels in the UK

If you have an appropriate amount of unshaded ground space for a ground-mounted system then you are primed to enjoy all the benefits of bifacial solar panels. Otherwise, you could also consider fixing them as part of a pergola roof or an awning. This will help save up the space on the ground area around your home. 

If you're still unsure about your home's suitability for bifacial solar panels, then getting a professional assessment from an installer will help reassure you. Finding the perfect installer to work with may take you several hours, since this usually involves some internet research into the company background, checking previous customer reviews, and requesting quotes. 

You can save yourself all this time by using GreenMatch's free quotes service. We can connect you with up to 4 of the top-rated installers based closest to you, whose quotes you can compare to land the best deal. 

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