DOE awards PPG $2.1 million to help automate PV manufacturing

ppgThe U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded PPG Industries’ industrial coatings business $2.1 million award to help design and pilot a rapid photovoltaic (PV) module assembly process that uses automation to eliminate time and labor from the current assembly process.

PPG will use the funding, delivered through the DOE’s SunShot Initiative, to develop liquid encapsulants that will enable PV modules to be manufactured without the need for capital-intensive laminators. PPG will match each dollar committed by the DOE, resulting in a total public-private investment of approximately $4.3 million in the project.

PPG is partnering with Flextronics International, Inc., a leading global solar module manufacturer, to design and test a pilot line at Flextronics’ Milpitas, Calif., facility that will produce 60- and 72-cell modules. PPG and Flextronics expect to increase module throughput by a factor of four at half the capital expense of the existing process.

The SunShot Initiative, which is funded through the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), seeks to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade. The PPG award is part of a $13 million investment in five projects to strengthen domestic solar manufacturing and speed commercialization of efficient, affordable PV and concentrating solar power technologies.

Sika Supports Solar Decathlon Teams

SikaSika Corporation has donated building materials to the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011 in support of EMPOWERHOUSE and ENJOY House. The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges 20 collegiate teams from around the world to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. This year’s college teams displayed their homes on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. from September 23 to October 2.

ENJOY House by Team New Jersey members Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and New Jersey Institute of Technology incorporates a new way of approaching high-performance, energy-efficient residential design. The house utilizes precast, concrete insulated panels and passive solar strategies to reduce heating and cooling loads. Sika Corp. donated G410 roofing membrane and adhesive, along with accessories and metal to waterproof the precast concrete deck. The Precast Concrete was produced utilizing Sika’s Viscocrete technology, Air Entrainment and a new product – Sika Watertight Concrete Powder. This combination resulted in a High Performance and Waterproof concrete structure. All of the precast panel joints, windows and doors were sealed utilizing various Sika sealants. The team effort included precast concrete produced by Northeast Precast, the applicator/installer Dumar Services, LLC with Martin Dubois leading the team, and the General Contractor Skanska Construction.

EMPOWERHOUSE is a community-based approach to building affordable, net-zero housing that addresses all aspects of domestic life. This superefficient, solar-powered house was designed and built by architecture and engineering students from Parsons The New School for Design, the Stevens Institute of Technology and the Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy. In addition to technical support, Sika AG subsidiaries donated G410 roofing membrane and adhesive, sealants for windows and concrete, admixtures that included a high range water reducer and air entrainment, and a new product – Sika Watertight Concrete Powder. The Sika Sarnafil applicator/installer was Delta Contracting Services led by Chris Dubois.

ENJOY House’s design was aimed at creating an affordable, functional, energy-efficient precast concrete house suited to the climate of New Jersey and intended for a couple that retires to the New Jersey shore. In addition to being ADA accessible, the house incorporates evacuated solar thermal tubes that heat domestic hot water and provide pre-heating for the hydronic radiant floor; high-performing, energy-efficient windows; a photovoltaic system with a daily output of 36 kWh, and energy recovery ventilators and dehumidifiers that keep cool air inside the house while providing fresh air from outside.

The EMPOWERHOUSE team is working with community partners, including Habitat for Humanity Washington D.C. and the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, to bring EMPOWERHOUSE beyond the National Mall. The team is constructing a second house in the D.C. neighborhood of Deanwood. After the Solar Decathlon, the two houses will be joined together to create a two-family home, and will be a model for affordable, net-zero housing that can be replicated around the globe.

Entrants must create a house that is affordable, attractive, and easy to live in; maintains comfortable and healthy indoor environmental conditions; supplies energy to household appliances for cooking, cleaning, and entertainment; provides adequate hot water; and produces as much or more energy than it consumes

This is the second participation in such an event for Sika Corporation. In 2009, Sika Sarnafil sponsored a team from the University of Florida, one of only two U.S. participants in the biannual global competition.

North American Manufacturers Form Consortium for Solar Lighting

Consortium for Solar LightingFour manufacturers recently founded the Consortium for Solar Lighting (CSL). The CSL’s founding members are Sharp Electronics Corporation, Carmanah Technologies Corporation, Inovus Solar, Inc., and SolarOne Solutions, Inc.

The mission of this group is to accelerate the adoption of reliable solar lighting technology through the development of universal specifications intended to support customers’ fair and comprehensive evaluation of commercial-scale lighting systems. In the process, the group expects that these specifications will foster awareness of solar powered lighting and the applications where it is a viable alternative to conventional grid-connected lighting technology.

The group is focused on assessment of the energy balance of a system design to ensure operation that is aligned with customer’s expectations. Other aspects of the system design, including standards that apply to individual components of the system, lighting characteristics or aspects that relate to safety are already being addressed through national and international bodies such as Commission International D’eclairage (CIE), Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), International Electrotechniques Commission (IEC) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

The first milestone of the of group is to develop common terminology and key metrics presented in a consistent, user-friendly form that can be readily adopted by municipal, government and commercial customers and specifiers. A white paper on this topic, “Solar Lighting Recommended Practices: System Sizing – Preliminary Version” is scheduled for release on June 15, 2011. An introductory flyer about the Consortium and its mission will be available during the 2011 LightFair in Philadelphia, PA on May 17-19, 2011 at the booths of the respective members as well as through their corporate websites. The founding members invite other North American solar powered lighting manufacturers who are able to commit time and resources to join them in establishing a formal organization to pursue the CSL’s mission.

To inquire about participation in the CSL please contact