Strong consideration needs to be given to on-line coatings which increase the cell performance, TCO, self-cleaning and anti-reflective.
According the Susan Eustis, principal author of the study, “factors driving this market represent concerns about energy security, energy prices, climate change and cost of carbon. Increased demand for electricity is a significant market trend. There is a need for replacing existing electricity generating capacity.”
Low iron solar glass technology gives solar panel and solar concentrator vendors the ability to build more efficient systems. Improved cost structures of the solar industry depend in part on improved efficiencies in low iron glass manufacturing. Low iron glass is used by the solar industry.
Low iron glass market growth is tied to solar market growth. Glass vendors are emerging as experienced and innovative partners for solar plant operators. Float glass plants are designed for PV glass for thin film and solar panels. Vendors are emerging that are dedicated to the production of PV thin film glass.
Solar key market growth factors driving demand include above all government subsidies. Although there is local variation, in the aggregate, subsidies are expected to continue and increase. There is not a more useful way for a government to spend its tax dollars than to stimulate growth of relatively inexpensive local sources of energy.
Efforts to drive full employment depend on a shift of defense budgets to renewable energy spending. Initially, renewable energy spending will come through the defense budgets worldwide, but as governments realize that the auto industry drives economies, they will begin to fund renewable solar energy used to create electricity for electric vehicles.
The industry depends on achieving economies of scale to lower costs of manufacture. Solutions to reach grid parity are needed in order for solar to become a long-term viable business. Among the most important issues are coating technology and novel structures. In the field of machining and finishing of thin glass with strengths of 0.95 mm, glass is used for concentrating solar thermal power plants (CSP). Lead-and copper-free protection and coating systems are used for solar energy applications.
For parabolic-reflector power stations thinner glass units are interesting. The thinner the glass is, the higher the degree of reflection. Mirror components, bending and the application of optical and functional layers rank among the core competencies of glass makers. Glass makers are extending their product sets and improving technology to cover the spectrum of flat solar glass processing.
PV float glass plants require specific designs for the batch plant, to prevent contamination by iron particles, the furnace due to the increase of melt temperatures (emissions!), the tin bath and the lehr due to an increased cooling effect.
Specific dimensions and thicknesses are required for solar glass. Properties requirements are different than for standard glasses. Typical glass lines deal with a variety of different thickness and / or grades. Solar glass depends on production of ultrabright sheets. Solar glass is inefficient due to set-up times and the requirement of large stocks
Traditional flat glass is not optimal for solar glass R&D efforts are needed to optimize production of PV thin film solar glass to reduce the PV glass costs. The glass properties need to be stable for 25 years. They need to be able to withstand huge environmental insults e.g. hail, acid rain, UV.
There are significant initiatives worldwide illustrative of solar energy installation growth. Examples include Abengoa innovative technology solutions efforts to achieve sustainable development in the energy and environment sectors. Abengoa is generating electricity from the sun. Abengoa has been offered conditional commitment for $1.2 billion US Federal Loan Guarantee to build the California based Mojave solar project.
Saint-Gobain had PV glass sales at 300,000 Euro in 2010. The company has an aggressive goal of 200 Million Euro for PV glass sales in 2015.
SunRun and U.S. Bancorp have formed a partnership to purchase $200 million worth of solar residential systems in the U.S. SunRun installs $1 million of residential solar energy panels per day. SunRun operates in eight U.S. states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Pennsylvania.
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