Canadian Solar has signed its largest ever solar module agreement with EDF Renewables North America, to deliver 1.8 GW of bifacial and monofacial panels to projects in U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The agreement includes Canadian Solar’s bifacial wafer BiHiKu (CS3W-PB) and HiKu (CS3W-P) modules.

The market for bifacial panels is set to take off this year as developers seek new ways to boost returns and gain a competitive edge.

Returns for U.S. bifacial plants could be 2.5% to 7% higher than monofacial designs, depending on the region, according to machine learning modelling performed by EDP Renewables (EDPR).

Leading tracker supplier NEXTracker is reportedly involved in over 750 MW of new bifacial solar projects in the U.S., including Invenergy’s trailblazing 160 MW Southern Oak project in Mitchell County, Georgia. In April, Enel Green Power installed its first bifacial solar panels at the 220 MW Magdalena II solar plant in Tlaxcala, Mexico. Also due online in 2019, the Magdalena II plant will supply industrial customers via Mexico’s wholesale market pool.

EDF is confident bifacial module technology can «support our robust pipeline of contracted projects over the next 5 years,» Tristan Grimbert, President and CEO of EDF Renewables North America, said.

Canadian Solar has now signed over 3 GW of forward module supply contracts in North America for delivery through 2023, the company said.

U.S. solar activity is bouncing back after uncertainty over Section 201 tariffs prompted delays and dented construction in 2018.

U.S. utility-scale PV installations are forecast to hike to 7.8 GW in 2019, from 6.2 GW in 2018, according to the latest quarterly U.S. Solar Market Insight report, published by Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) in March.

Strong demand in the coming years will see installations rise to 10 GW in 2020 and 10.4 GW in 2021, it said.