Image: Elgin Energy.

Elgin Energy has celebrated the installation of what it says are the first bifacial modules in the Republic of Ireland.

The double sided solar panels have been installed at a test site on a dairy farm in Skeoughvosteen, Co. Kilkenny. This was delivered by the solar developer, along with panel manufacturer LONGi and inverter manufacturer SolarEdge. Irish renewable company Enerpower installed the modules and associated equipment.

SolarEdge's optimisation and monitoring software will be used to keep track of the generation from each panel, to examine the production profile of bifacial panels in Ireland. This will allow them to compare the efficacy of monofacial and bifacial panels.

The test site will build on research carried out in other markets that suggest bifacial can provide an uplift of 5-10%. The panels can harness energy from both the front of the panel, and the reflected rays from the surface below it, which in the case of Elgin’s Kilkenny test site is grass.

LONGi bifacial and monofacial modules at the test site in Co. Kilkenny. Image: Elgin Energy.

Ronan Kilduff, managing director at Elgin Energy said the company was very excited to launch the research project together with LONGi and SolarEdge.

“This test site is the first of its kind in Ireland and will provide data that will help to inform the Irish solar industry and our development across Ireland and the UK.”

The Irish solar market is growing, scooping up 796MW in the country’s first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) auction in August. These were taken by just 20 project developers, who had projects ranging from 0.5MW to 119MW.

However, challenges remain in the market, in particular the high grid connection costs that resulted in the strike prices in the RESS auction being significantly higher than anywhere else in Europe. Sitting at €74.08/MWh (£66.90/MWh), it was almost double the prices seen in the UK’s Contracts for Difference scheme for example.