Volume 46, Issue 6 - July 2011


company news

PPG to Install Solar Array at PA Glass Research Facility

PPG Industries is installing a 4,800 watt solar array on the roof of the PPG Flat Glass Business and Discovery Center in Harmar, Pa. Scott Follett, global director of PPG’s Solar Performance Group, says the site will demonstrate the value of solar products such as the Solarphire® line, and will help company researchers and product developers to gather real-world data on the performance of existing and prototype products.

Follett adds that the array will be available for use as a testing and demonstration site for customers as well. “It is one thing for us to tell current and potential customers about the virtues of Solarphire glass products by PPG,” he says. “To actually show them the value of the glass, used in their own modules, is far more impressive.”

The array will include two 10-module assemblies, complete with online monitoring software to measure the real-time power output of each module type. Customers may use the demonstration site in one-month intervals, and those with products installed on the array will have access to performance data. Solar power generated by the array will be tied back into building operations.

For the initial installation, PPG will equip one assembly with Solarphire PV photovoltaic glass and the other with Solarphire AR anti-reflective glass and compare their performance.

First Solar to Build Solar Module Factory in AZ
First Solar Inc. is building a new U.S. manufacturing center in Mesa, Ariz. The solar module manufacturer is investing about $300 million in the factory, which is expected to create approximately 600 jobs and include four manufacturing lines with a capacity to produce more than 250 megawatts (MW) of thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules per year. The new factory, in combination with a recently expanded facility in Perrysburg, Ohio, will increase its U.S. production capacity to more than 500MW per year.

Construction began in the second quarter of 2011, while module shipments are scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2012. The facility is located on a 135-acre site that is designed to accommodate future expansion. The facility will include a 3MW rooftop solar installation, as well as a ground-mounted PV testing facility. The factory will utilize First Solar’s continuous manufacturing process, which transforms a sheet of glass into a complete solar module in less than 2 1/2 hours.

DyeTec Wins Ohio State Development Grant
Australia-based DyeTec Solar Inc., a joint venture between Dyesol Inc. and Pilkington North America, has received a $1 million Ohio Third Frontier Commission grant to develop technology for mass manufacture of glass-based building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV), building applied photovoltaic (BAPV) and automotive integrated photovoltaic (AIPV) products.

DyeTec’s technology is designed to utilize optimized transparent conductive oxide (TCO) glass and dye solar cell (DSC) materials manufactured by the joint venture partners, and enables downstream suppliers in the glass market to mass produce high-performing DSC-TCO glass-based products for use in BIPV, BAPV and AIPV applications. Initial DyeTec efforts are expected to result in the development of prototype DSC-based BIPV glass panels and related equipment sets, laying the foundation for high volume manufacturing capability.

global news

Solutia Produces EVAEncapsulants in China
Solutia Inc. in St. Louis is opening a new Vistasolar® ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) manufacturing center in Suzhou, China. The new facility has completed testing and is now ready to supply commercial-grade Vistasolar EVA encapsulant for use in solar modules.

According to the company, Chinese solar module manufacturers currently produce more than half of all modules installed globally, and this new manufacturing center is expected to strengthen Solutia’s position to supply solar encapsulants to the Chinese photovoltaic market.

“The industry requires reductions in cost per watt for solar energy,” says Christopher Reed, Solutia photovoltaic business director. “By investing directly into China, our ability to reduce the total cost of production and enhance our service levels to Chinese module manufacturers is greatly improved.”

This is Solutia’s first new EVA production facility to be developed after the acquisition of Etimex Solar GmbH of Germany. The facility is based at the company’s Suzhou, China, manufacturing center, which also produces Saflex® polyvinyl butyral (PVB) films.

NSG Expands Solar Energy Glass Capacity in Vietnam
The NSG Group has announced plans to build two float lines in Vietnam to increase its production of specialty products to the solar energy and touch screen sectors. The first of the two new float lines will be fitted with online coating equipment for the production of coated glass for use in thin-film type photovoltaic applications. The total investment will be in the order of $320 million USD (JPY 26 billion), with both lines due to start production in 2013. The Group estimates that approximately 400 jobs will be created locally as a result of the investment.

The new float lines will be constructed at the My Xuan site in southern Vietnam, in which the company already operates a float line dedicated to solar energy products.

code news

Renewable Energy Systems Discussed During IgCC Hearings
Among the proposals heard during the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) hearings in May in Dallas was one that called for revising section 611.2 on photovoltaic systems. Proposal GEW249-11, submitted by Robert Dewey, who represented the U.S. Department of Energy, called for revising the section so the systems would be designed, constructed and sized to provide not less than 5 percent (an increase from 2 percent) of the total estimated annual electric energy consumption of the building, or collective buildings on the building site in accordance with Section 611.1.1 or 611.1.2.

Tom Culp, representing the Glazing Industry Code Committee, spoke in opposition.

“Our members make solar photovoltaic systems so you’d think I’d speak in favor, but the 5-percent increase is only on one category and not across the board, and that may likely discourage the use of solar photovoltaic systems,” Culp said.

The proposal was disapproved by the committee.

© Copyright 2011 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.