Volume 45, Issue 2 - February 2010


company news
Cardinal Solar Technologies Awarded $7.7 Million Tax Credit
Cardinal Solar Technologies (ST) in Spring Green, Wis., a fully owned subsidiary of Cardinal Glass Industries, has been awarded a $7.7 million tax credit under President Obama’s stimulus plan in order to re-tool its Northfield, Minn., facility. The credit is available upon the facility’s progression from residential door and window coating operations to production of thin film coatings for use in the manufacturing of solar modules.

Andy Jensen, vice president/general manager of Cardinal ST, explains that the process of earning the tax credit began when the company completed and submitted a formal 48C tax credit application in October 2009. The tax credit is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is focused on building a robust domestic manufacturing capacity to supply clean and renewable energy projects with American-made parts and equipment.

Cardinal’s research and development team spent the past three years developing thin film coatings to be used by solar module manufacturers. These thin film coatings (transparent conductive oxide, anti-reflective and low maintenance photocatalytic) will be tailored to specific customer module requirements to optimize their energy production.

“Once our thin film development work is completed, it will take us approximately six months to re-tool our Northfield coating operation,” Jensen says.

He adds that Cardinal’s large area thin film coating process enables the company’s solar thin films to be engineered to match customer requirements while maintaining a low cost.

At this time, Jensen says the company “will be maintaining the current staffing levels, but with the expected growth in the solar industry over the next couple years we are optimistic that the Northfield operation will benefit from that growth.”

He says they do not have any plans at this time to open additional solar facilities, but it is something that could be considered in the future.

“As one of the world’s leading technology companies in glass and thin film coatings we are ready to react to the opportunities that the solar industry will bring to the United States over the next several years,” Jensen says. “We believe that the stimulus plan will be one significant step to encourage renewable energy projects in the United States and will drive demand for our solar customer’s products.

product news
SynergX Systems Inspect Photovoltaic Glass
SynergX Technologies Inc. in Laval, Quebec, is offering glass scan systems to provide solar glass and panel manufacturers with yield management and a quality control solution for the inspection of both continuous and cut sheets of clear and patterned glass. High-resolution cameras provide accurate detection, sizing and classification of defects, including open and closed bubbles, black and white stones, scratches and edge defects.

research news
New Energy Achieves Transparency in Electricity-Generating Windows
New Energy Technologies Inc. in Burtonsville, Md., currently developing SolarWindow™ technologies capable of generating electricity on glass windows, announced on January 4 that researchers have overcome a significant scientific hurdle in creating clear solar glass. By replacing a visibility-blocking solid metal component with environmentally friendly, non-metallic, transparent compounds it has created a first-of-its kind see-through glass.

“Metal materials block visibility, and are arguably the most important hindrance to developing a commercially viable solar glass window product,” says Meetesh V. Patel, president and chief executive officer. “We have successfully replaced the metal contact component … with non-metallic compounds and, in so doing, achieved significantly greater transparency, a key factor in advancing our technology along the commercial product development path.”  

To-date, one of the biggest obstacles faced by researchers developing the technology has been the presence of metal, an opaque material that blocks all visibility and prevents light from passing through glass. Eliminating metal has proved especially challenging since the metal component acts as the negative ‘polar contact,’ an important function in collecting the electricity generated from solar cells on the surface of the glass. The new compounds now function as the negative polar contact and collect electricity from the window.  

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