Ceramic Industry

PPG to Manufacture Low-Iron Glass in California

February 9, 2012


PPG Industries’ flat glass business recently announced that it will expand production capability at its Fresno, Calif., plant to accommodate the manufacture of SOLARPHIRE® PV glass, an ultra-low-iron glass used to make components for the solar power industry. The production of Solarphire PV glass at the Fresno Works will reportedly make PPG the first and only manufacturer of low-iron glass on the West Coast, and will enhance the company’s ability to serve the region’s burgeoning solar power market, according to Richard A. Beuke, PPG vice president of Flat Glass.

“For decades, PPG has been the industry leader in low-iron glass technology,” Beuke said. “With demand for these products growing in California and the southwestern U.S., the ability to meet the delivery and service requirements of our West Coast customers has become a critical priority. The new capability at the Fresno plant is planned specifically to help address their needs.”

The primary benefit of making Solarphire PV glass in Fresno will be reduced delivery times, according to Scott Follett, global director of the PPG Solar Performance Group. “Unless customers have special orders, PPG should be able to make next-day deliveries throughout California and the southwest,” he said. “Shipping Solarphire PV glass from the East Coast, as we do now, usually takes three to four days. Going forward, we will have greater flexibility to meet customers’ inventory and production requirements.”

Follett said the new capability will enable PPG to expedite shipments to customers in Asia as well.

According to Beuke, though no new jobs will be associated with expanded production at the Fresno plant, it will benefit existing employees. “The addition of the solar business will enable the plant to generate more tonnage, so we expect to have fewer production slowdowns that lead to layoffs,” he said.

Solarphire PV glass is an ultra-low-iron glass that features high transmittance across the entire solar spectrum and a proprietary glass chemistry that increases solar transmittance in the near-infrared band. In thicknesses of up to 3.2 millimeters, Solarphire PV glass can transmit up to 91% of total solar energy. The glass also is available with anti-reflective and corrosion-retardant coatings to satisfy component manufacturers’ performance requirements.

For more information, visit www.ppgsolarphire.com