College - Author 1

College of Engineering

Department - Author 1

Materials Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Materials Engineering

College - Author 2

College of Engineering

Department - Author 2

Materials Engineering Department

Degree - Author 2

BS in Materials Engineering



Primary Advisor

Jean Lee, College of Engineering, Materials Engineering Department


Solar energy farms typically utilize monofacial photovoltaic (mPV) cells in their arrays to capture direct sunlight to produce renewable energy. However, the efficiency of these farms can be increased by 2 – 6% through the implementation of bifacial photovoltaic cells (bPV). These bPV cells function by capturing incident ultraviolet (UV) light energy that is reflected off the surface to increase its overall energy production. The amount of UV energy that is reflected is dependent on the albedo value of surface, which is a measure of energy reflectance. In this study, samples of unreinforced polyethylene (PE), scrim-reinforced polyethylene (SR-PE), and woven polyethylene (W-PE) sheeting materials were tested to determine which had the highest albedo value as well as the most resistance to environmental degradation. Samples subjected to outdoor conditions were visited on a biweekly basis to measure their albedo values using an albedometer and to record any physical changes observed in the material. Samples were also placed in an accelerated weathering chamber in a laboratory which exposed the materials to continuous UV light in intervals of 20 hours. The results from testing determined that woven PE produced a 23% higher average albedo in comparison to the other candidate PE materials. Woven PE also demonstrated lower quantitative and qualitative environmental degradation. Based on these results, woven PE was concluded to be empirically superior as a ground albedo material among the materials tested in this study.