College - Author 1

College of Engineering

Department - Author 1

Materials Engineering Department

College - Author 2

College of Engineering

Department - Author 2

Materials Engineering Department

College - Author 3

College of Engineering

Department - Author 3

Materials Engineering Department


Jean Lee, College of Engineering, Materials Engineering Department

Funding Source

Jim and Mary Beaver, Clearway Energy Group


Dr. Trevor Harding, Dr. Joel Galos, Prof. Charles Bland, Adam Jang, and Roxy Jackson-Gain




Bifacial photovoltaics can collect solar energy from both sides, unlike regular one-sided solar panels. With the ability to collect energy from both sides, the energy production of bifacial photovoltaic farms is about 2-6% more efficient than typical solar farms. However, the increase in efficiency is highly dependent on the reflectivity of the ground material. This project explores six different materials to determine which material would be best to implement as a ground material for a bifacial photovoltaic farm, based on their mechanical properties and albedo value. Albedo refers to the ratio between the reflected solar radiation to the incident solar radiation, and ranges between 0 and 1. The tested sheet samples were: Unreinforced Polyethylene (PE), Scrim Reinforced Polyethylene (SR-PE), Woven Polyethylene (W-PE), White Road Paint with reflective glass beads (RPB), Mylar (M), and Woven Polypropylene (W-PP). The samples had their albedo recorded three days a week, during morning and afternoon readings, at specific angles as dictated in the ASTM E1918-21 standard. This is to observe the environmental factors' effect on the albedo. Also, some samples were placed in an accelerated weathering machine which exposed the samples to high levels of UV radiation to mimic extended periods of sun exposure. The samples were then tensile tested after the UV exposure to record impact in mechanical properties. The results concluded that if the requirement is to have a high albedo, RPB and M are the best option. M is the best option if cost is also considered. If ease of installation and maintenance is a high priority SR-PE becomes a top choice.




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