Volume 44, Issue 4 - April 2009

Solar Watch

Will Recovery Plans Give the U.S. Solar Glazing Market a Positive Boost?

The recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act could mean good news for the future of solar glazing. In an address to Congress in late February President Obama stated, “Thanks to our recovery plan, we will double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years. We have also made the largest investment in basic research funding in American history—an investment that will spur … new discoveries in energy ...”

The Act also calls for investing $15 billion a year to develop technologies for a number of areas, including solar power. In addition, the plan sets out to save or create 3.5 million jobs over the next two years, including jobs constructing solar panels. 

“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by the President had a number of benefits for the renewable energy industry,” says Mike Ondrus, director of solar energy systems for Glasstech Inc., “not the least of which is the monetization of the investment tax credit in the form of grants. This may now make it more appealing and easier for the U.S. solar industry to move ahead with installations that use glass.”
Some of the plan’s key points that may have a significant impact on the solar glazing market include:
• Renewable Energy Grant Program, which offers Department of Energy grants equal to 30 percent of the cost of solar projects started in the next two years, including large-scale utility projects; 
• Loan Guarantee Program, which creates a new, streamlined loan guarantee program to support financing of renewable energy systems, including solar energy technology; 
• Manufacturing Investment Credit, which creates a 30-percent investment tax credit for facilities engaged in the manufacture of renewable energy property or equipment; and
• Solar for federal buildings and military, which creates a multi-billion dollar market for solar to be installed to power federal buildings and military installations. It will still take time for solar glazing to fully engage the mainstream market, and some companies say they are still accessing what the Act’s full impact will be.

New solarglazingmag.com Goes Live 

There is now a new source of industry news and information dedicated to the solar glazing industry. A new website, managed by Key Communications Inc., publisher of USGlass magazine and USGNN.com™, is now live at www.solarglazingmag.com

“This new website will be a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about the solar glazing industry,” says Debra Levy, publisher of USGlass. “The site will provide a first look at many of the trends and technologies that will be further explored in the pages of USGlass magazine’s Solar Glazing supplement.” 

Visitors to www.solarglazingmag.com will find numerous informational and educational resources. The site features links to industry and event news, an online event calendar, video interviews with industry professionals and photo galleries of solar products and applications. In addition, an online forum offers visitors a place to ask questions, share comments and network about trends in the solar glazing industry, as well as applications and more. 

company news
Asahi Glass to Boost Glass Production Facilities for Solar Cells
Asahi Glass Co. Ltd. in Tokyo has announced that it is working to enhance its glass production facilities for solar cells in China, where the market is projected to expand rapidly. With an investment of approximately $132 million USD (13 billion yen), Asahi will add a new furnace for the cover glass of solar cells with a production capacity of 240 tons per day, as well as an AR coating line, to its subsidiary in Suzhou, China. The company also will be adding an additional TCO coating line to the Aichi plant. The cover glass production facility is expected to start mass production in the second quarter of 2009; the TCO coating line began its work the fourth quarter 2008.

Because of its increased focus on solar glazing, Asahi Glass has established a Solar SBU division under the direct control of the head office in Belgium. 

SCI to Commercialize Products for Thin Film Industry
SCI Engineered Materials Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, a manufacturer of ceramics and metals for advanced applications in the physical vapor deposition industry, has been awarded a $708,715 grant from the Ohio Department of Development, subject to State of Ohio Controlling Board approval. This grant is to help commercialize technologies for the production of transparent conductive oxide coated glass used in thin film photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. 

Rotatable ceramic sputtering targets can be used in production processes involving glass, among other products, making them applicable for second generation thin film and third generation dye cells. Optimizing the composition of the coating utilizing these targets will allow manufacturers to improve the efficiency of PV modules.

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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.