Global Solar Energy, a solar industry leader that manufactures highly-efficient thin-film solar cells for glass modules or flexible material products, today announced Dow Building Solutions, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, has invited Global Solar to participate in its U.S. Department of Energy Solar America Initiative (SAI) project to help create innovative building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products. As a part of its SAI program, Dow is creating a flexible solar roof shingle, and has made Global Solar a key team member in its development.
“We are collaborating with Global Solar Energy because throughout our search for a solar material provider, it was the only company able to supply a qualifying flexible Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide (CIGS) material that meets our needs and the requirements of the SAI,” said Bob Cleereman, senior director of Solar & Structural Technology with Dow Building Solutions. “CIGS has proven to be the most efficient, cost-effective thin-film technology for BIPV applications, and by teaming up with Global Solar we are working with an industry leader. Global Solar is the only company in full-scale production of CIGS cells on flexible substrates, and has achieved a record-setting average 10 percent solar cell efficiency, meeting SAI’s requirements.”
The SAI is comprised of companies, laboratories, universities and non-profit organizations. As part of the initiative, Dow is participating in the Technology Pathway Partnership, which was designed to accelerate the commercialization of U.S.-produced solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Global Solar Energy replaced Dow’s original PV material provider in this program.
“Based on its years of experience Global Solar will be an intrinsically valuable team member in advancing our BIPV product development and meeting the demand for new solar energy applications,” said Patricia Nugent, program manager for Dow Building Solutions. “A flexible PV roof shingle is one of our most exciting projects, and Global Solar’s technology and expertise will be a truly valuable contribution to our development of that product. Together, Dow and Global Solar are advancing the market for BIPV applications in the design of energized commercial and residential building materials.”
“By collaborating with Dow, Global Solar is at the forefront of the emerging BIPV market, which is a bright future for the worldwide solar energy industry,” said Mike Gering, CEO of Global Solar Energy. “Our CIGS solar cells and solar strings offer the most efficient, cost-effective option for BIPV applications, which offer greater flexibility to architects and builders to meet emerging energy efficiency standards and lower the cost of solar installations. With Dow, we are opening a new realm of product innovation for development of BIPV and the future of the energy construction market.”
The mission of the SAI is to create solar electricity cost competitiveness with grid electricity by 2015. The use of flexible CIGS thin-film technologies in building-integrated applications is a key component to that effort, helping lower the cost of solar electricity so that it is cost-competitive across all U.S. market sectors. Decentralized energy supplies such as PV diversifies the nation’s electricity portfolio, enhances grid reliability, and reduces the impact of a failure of the U.S. centralized electricity infrastructure.