Glass-glass solar panels, also known as double-glass solar panels, are a type of photovoltaic cell sandwiched between two sheets of glass. This model produces more energy than traditional solar panels overall.
Due to their long life span, glass-glass models have the potential to outperform single-panel solar panels in the long run. Learn more about whether these solar panels are the future of renewable energy.
The Solar Energy Boom
Solar panels have been a game changer in the renewable energy industry, providing an efficient, eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels. As of 2022, solar power accounted for 3.6% of global electricity generation, and that number continues to grow.
One reason solar panels have become more popular is that photovoltaic technology has gotten cheaper. Though the average cost of going solar is $19,000, the U.S. Solar Investment Tax Credit lets people deduct 30% of the total price of solar installation from federal income taxes. That puts solar panels within reach for many homeowners for the first time.
Explaining Glass-Glass Solar Panels
However, even as technology continues to improve and become more affordable, solar panels still only convert about 20% of the sun’s energy into electricity. Recently, the development of double-glass solar panels — especially bifacial panels — has gained attention due to their increased efficiency and durability.
Glass-glass solar panels have a layer of tempered glass on both sides. In contrast, single-glass modules have an opaque sheet on the back called a backsheet, and an aluminum frame holds it in place and provides strength.
While not all double-glass solar panels are bifacial, all bifacial solar panels are built in the double-glass style. That allows light to enter from both sides of the panel. In addition to having glass on both sides, bifacial panels take things a step further by adding photovoltaic cells on both the front and back. This design lets the panel generate energy on both sides.
Only bifacial glass-glass solar panels increase energy production. One study found them to yield up to 25% more energy than monofacial solar panels. Instead of being mounted flat against a rooftop, they are slanted. They work best when placed on a reflective surface, such as a white roof, a mirror or even snow, so that one side gathers sunlight while the other absorbs its reflection.
Additional Benefits of Double-Glass Panels
In addition to certain types of glass-glass panels increasing energy yield, the double-glass model has a few other unique advantages. While it sounds counterintuitive, having glass on both sides actually makes the panels more durable than single-glass models. They’re more resistant to micro-cracks from wind, snow pile-up or people walking on them during installation. Glass panels also protect the photocell from mechanical damage during transport.
Temperature and Weather Resistance
Having glass on both sides means that both sides expand and contract at equal rates in the heat and cold. Therefore, the panels won’t become as stressed or deformed in extreme temperatures. Double-glass panels also have a higher fire rating compared to conventional panels.
Glass is also moisture-resistant and repels rain. When moisture penetrates solar panels, it can cause stray currents, leading to potential induced degradation (PID). Double-glass solar panels don’t experience PID as frequently as single-glass models.
Glass doesn’t react with many chemicals, and because of this property, double-glass solar panels display a higher resistance to chemical reactions than single-glass panels. No chemical reactions will take place between the glass and the epoxy resin or photovoltaic cells.
Longer Life Span
Although bifacial models generate more energy in the first place, double-glass solar panels tend to have a longer life span than traditional panels, meaning they can potentially produce more energy over time. They typically come with a 30-year warranty rather than the standard 25-year guarantee.
Catching the Sun
Overall, glass-glass solar panels have many advantages over traditional models, including increased life span and durability. Bifacial double-glass panels, in particular, offer a large increase in energy yield by absorbing light on both sides of the panel.
The long-term benefits of these panels make them an attractive choice for many commercial and residential installations. As the demand for renewable energy grows, glass-glass solar panels will likely become more popular.
Jane Marsh works as the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she covers environmental news and sustainable living tips.