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The role of solar glass and inverters in the solar power sector

Post Time:Feb 11,2015Classify:Industry NewsView:385

Solar glass

While polysilicon wafers are the single biggest component of solar PV (photovoltaic) modules, solar (TAN) glass plays an important role too. Solar glass is different from normal glass because PVs require bright and clear glass with less iron content.

 

Glass is used in crystalline solar modules to protect layers from external elements. Glass amounts to over 60% of the weight of crystalline PV cells and over 80% of thin-film cells. As well, glass mirrors are used in concentrated solar power, as discussed earlier in this series.

 

Despite a variety of applications, the solar glass market contributed less than 1% toward the entire glass market.

China Glass Network

Major producers

Glass is made of non-crystalline material, generally silicates—or compounds of silicon. Because the glass manufacturing process and technology are different, polysilicon manufacturers such as Hemlock (DOW) (GLW) aren’t active in the segment. Instead, PV modules procure glass from others including Asahi, Pinkington, Saint Gobain, etcetera.

 

Inverters

Inverters are another major component that makes the electricity generated by a PV module usable. Inverters convert direct current from PV modules to alternate current, which is compatible with grid and home use.

 

Not many PV module manufacturers make inverters. Instead, wholesalers bundle inverters with PV modules. With the surge in Chinese and Japanese demand for PV modules, the center of the inverter market is shifting from Europe to Asia. Only one American company, Advanced Energy Industries (AEIS), was featured in the top ten global inverter manufacturers in 2013. Other major inverter manufacturers include SMA Solar Technology, ABB Ltd. (ABB), and Omron Aso.

 

Next, we’ll shift our attention to understanding the cost structure of PV systems.

Source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/role-solar-glass-invAuthor: shangyi

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