Volume 44, Issue 10 - October 2009


company news

Xinyi Glass Starts New Solar Glass Furnace
On August 23, Hong Kong-based Xinyi Glass ignited a new low-iron patterned glass furnace at its Wuhu, China, plant. The new furnace has a daily capacity of 393,000 square feet and will produce Sol-Clear™ patterned solar glass primarily.

This new furnace was built in 11 months and will be commissioned toward the end of 2009. It makes Xinyi among the world’s largest patterned solar glass substrate manufacturers. With the new lines, the company is able to offer lites as large as 94 by 132 inches.

The new furnace joins a second furnace with a daily capacity of 236,000 square feet that has been in full operation since January 2008. The former furnace has been supplying SPF U1 grade solar glass to customers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and China. In addition to producing solar glass, Xinyi Glass currently is running four float glass furnaces with combined daily capacity of 2,860 tons.

SolFocus Expands Glassworks Factory

SolFocus in Mountain View, Calif., has completed the expansion of its solar glass reflector manufacturing factory in Mesa, Ariz. With a more than 175-percent increase in manufacturing floor space and a new line of manufacturing equipment, the SolFocus Glassworks facility will have the capacity to produce 2 million concentrating reflectors annually for 30 megawatts (MW) of solar power generation—more than 15 times the plant’s capacity in 2008.

The proprietary, convex mirrors manufactured at the facility serve are a component of the company’s concentrating photovltaics (CPV) system design. As part of a full CPV system, the mirrors reflect the sun’s rays 500 times onto a solar cell, which enables the system to produce solar power with conversion efficiency levels of 25 percent.

More than 150 full-time employees are expected to come onboard by the end of this year.

Saint-Gobain Steps Up Growth in Renewable Energy

As part of its development strategy for solar energy, Saint-Gobain in France is acquiring Shell’s share of Avancis, which was a joint venture between the two companies.

Avancis has developed highly competitive thin-film technology to manufacture photovoltaic (PV) modules. With an annual capacity of 20 megawatts, the company’s first plant already is operating in Torgau, Germany. This technology necessitates expertise in glass coating and in glass thermal treatment, two processes belonging to Saint-Gobain’s core portfolio.

The company provides a vast range of products and services in solar energy via Saint-Gobain Solar, its new entity which groups all of its solar businesses. Present across the whole value chain, Saint-Gobain Solar’s strategy hinges on three activities:

• The making and selling of high-tech components for PV modules and high-performance mirrors for solar thermal plant operators;

• The production by Avancis of thin-film PV modules using copper, indium, selenide (CIS) technology, for distributors and
integrators; and

• The design and marketing of PV solutions for residential homes, offices, industrial installations and farm buildings.


Captured in Glass
Bystronic Glass of Aurora, Colo., is offering a new system for the efficient encapsulation and sealing of photovoltaic (PV) modules. The system includes the TPS applicator for encapsulating filmless thin layer modules and a glass plate washing machine, GW-D, which is used in the production of thin-layer modules and the field of wafer-based modules.

Developed by Bystronic Lenhardt GmbH, TPS® is an insulating glass production system that replaces the traditional metallic spacer frame used between two lites with a thermo plastic spacer. The company reports that, for encapsulating filmless thin-layer modules, the technology uses less energy than vacuum lamination. Depending on module size, cycle time is 30 to 45 seconds. The machine is available in both vertical and horizontal options and can operate around the clock.

Available as part of a back-end line or as a standalone solution, the GW-D glass plate washing machine features a unique energy-saving water treatment process. It offers continuous washing of different glass thicknesses up to 15 millimeters.

© Copyright 2009 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.