The basic physics behind how solar power works is roughly the same across all competing photovoltaic (PV) panels. The chemical composition might change from one technology to another. But at their core, PV panels simply convert free sunshine into clean electricity.
This explains why some treat solar as a commodity. And in the short-term, it often is. No matter what panel type you install, you’ll start generating measurable carbon and utility bill savings right away.
Major differences emerge over the 30 to 40 years of each panel’s useful lifetime. And that’s why it’s important to choose the right solar technology for each application. This selection process is largely based on local conditions like temperature, weather, and even how the modules will be used. As such, the best solar panels in Canada aren’t necessarily what you’d use in Spain, Germany, or other major solar hotspots.
Take, for example, temperature.
We normally associate solar panels with warm sunny climates. But cold is actually an ally since PV performance is inversely proportional to temperature. This means that all other things being equal, you’ll generate more clean power from a solar panel at 0°C than you would from that same module at 30°C temperatures.
This is just one of many considerations.
So What Are the Best Solar Panels in Canada?
It’s worth noting that above a certain threshold, there are no “bad” panels. Any Tier 1 modules installed by experienced solar panel installers in BC will deliver decades of clean power and utility bill savings.
So you can’t go wrong.
But to maximize the ROI of your investment, it’s crucial you select the optimal panels for your specific region. And in a country like Canada, for ground mount installations we’ve found that bifacial panels deliver the ideal balance of performance and durability.
What Are Bifacial Solar Panels?
Whereas most PV panels have an opaque back-sheet (generally made from a combination of polymers), bifacial modules have transparent surfaces on both sides. Also known as glass-glass panels, these PV modules offer several important advantages over their one-sided counterparts.
1. Performance Under Low Light Conditions
Because bifacial panels are transparent on the back, they are able to capture more ambient light than conventional glass-polymer panels can, as any reflected light will hit the back of the panel to produce even more energy. So whether you’re dealing with the winter sun or an overcast day, your bifacial modules will produce more overall energy. This is true for rooftop installations, but the higher output is especially noticeable with ground-mounted solutions due to the extra space underneath these types of installations.
2. Performance Under Snowy Conditions
Bifacial panels installed in snowy regions (like Saskatchewan) consistently deliver higher than average output due to their ability to capture direct sunlight from above – and reflected sunlight below. Depending on what’s beneath the panels in the summer (sand, grass, dirt, etc), about 10-30% of the light will be reflected off the ground – but the winter is when these panels really shine. Fresh snow is 90% reflective, meaning that you’ll see an even larger production increase with bifacial panels on those sunny winter days.
There’s also anecdotal evidence that – regardless of the tilt angle – glass-glass panels shed snow faster than traditional modules can. This allows bifacial panels to recover more quickly following heavy winter storms.
3. Resistance to Degradation
All PV panels degrade over time. But because bifacial modules are hermetically sealed in glass, they’re more resistant to the natural degradation process:
- Agricultural and industrial solar customers don’t have to worry about corrosion from caustic chemicals like ammonia
- Homeowners can rest easy knowing that dirt and moisture buildup won’t negatively impact long-term panel performance
- Glass-glass panels installed along coastal regions are more resistant to salt and moisture in the air
4. Resistance to Stress and Impact
Due to their glass encasing, bifacial solar panels are more resistant to the natural stresses of manufacturing, transportation, and installation. However, they’re also more resilient post-installation as well. With impact-resistant glass, for example, modern bifacial modules are able to withstand falling debris – making them a favorite along with places like Alberta’s Hailstorm Alley.
Thanks to their higher performance and durability, glass-glass panels often come with 30 years of warranty protection – compared to the 25 years that most manufacturers offer. And whereas glass-polymer panels degrade about 20% throughout their warrantied lifetimes, bifacial modules degrade only half as much during the same period.
If you live in Canada, and have the space available for a ground mount, bifacial modules are a no-brainer. But which one should you choose for your own installation?
The Bifacial Panels We Use for Our Canadian Customers
At EVOLVsolar, we actually use several different types of bifacial panels – depending on the clean energy goals of the customer. All of these Tier 1 modules are best-in-class. But we’ve chosen the specific panels below due to their suitability for the Canadian climate.
LONGi is a leading provider of high-performance bifacial modules. And in fact, many other manufacturers use LONGi’s technology in their own panels (including LG, which is a solar pioneer in its own right).
Hanwha is another top contender – trusted by our solar panel installers in BC and worldwide. The company is headquartered in Germany. But with manufacturing capabilities in Ontario, these modules often qualify for the “domestic content” requirements you sometimes see in solar incentive programs. As an added benefit, Hanwha modules are certified to withstand snow loads of up to 5,400 pascals (which is very useful during Canadian winters).
3. Canadian Solar
With headquarters in both China and Canada, this panel technology also qualifies as “domestic.” But what sets Canadian Solar apart from other Tier 1 alternatives is pricing. They offer slightly lower efficiency than LONGi and Hanwha. But due to their unmatched affordability, Canadian Solar’s glass-glass panels deliver comparable ROIs and payback periods.
Let Our Solar Company Help You Choose The Right Bifacial Solar Panel
Again – you really can’t go wrong as long as you limit your choices to Tier 1 solar modules. But after extensive field testing with hundreds of residential, agricultural, commercial, and industrial applications throughout Canada, we’ve found that the 3-panel technologies above deliver the most bang for the buck. And if you request a free solar quote, we can help you choose the most appropriate solution – depending on your own financial and environmental goals. In addition, we can also install other top-tier solar brands that aren’t on this list.
For help getting started, request your free solar quote today.
EVOLVsolar is Western Canada’s leading solar company. We have one mission: to make solar energy affordable while giving back to the environment. By investing in solar power, you can save money on energy bills, upgrade the value of your property and reduce your energy output. You can expect high-quality solar panel installation, world-class workmanship, excellent customer service and the best solar technology available. Our success has established us as the go-to solar installers in BC and Saskatchewan, and one of the leading solar companies in Alberta. Experience the EVOLVsolar difference by contacting our corporate office today at (587) 602-0534.