Finding New Opportunities
GANA’s New Subcommittee Tackles Solar Issues
by Bill Yanek
Over the past few years, alternative energy has continued its emergence
as a significant factor in energy policy debates. When most consumers
consider solar energy, they think back to the 1970s and the large, dark
panels over homes for the purpose of heating water and generating moderate
amounts of electricity in exchange for big upfront costs. By the 1980s,
solar energy seemed to go the way of disco and bell bottom pants and lost
the collective consciousness of the United States and North America. However,
as we enter the second decade of the 2000’s, solar energy is back—in a
Many of the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) members are either
already involved in producing products for solar energy applications or
looking to break in with new products. With the goal of maximizing the
potential positive impact created by solar energy applications upon the
glass industry, the GANA: Energy Committee has created the new solar products
and applications subcommittee. The subcommittee has been hard at work
in the first portion of 2010 developing a long list of
Finding The Right Niche
At Glass Week last month, the subcommittee met to continue its work on
a new product matrix that will help to better define the intersection
of the glass and solar industries. This matrix matches solar glazing application
types with the correct glazing product needed to complete the application.
For example, thin film photovoltaic applications need thermally tempered
glass, concentrated solar power reflectors need bent glass and so on.
The final product will provide a quick way for those in both the solar
and glass industries to understand exactly the types of products they
can bring to market that will fit into the many solar glazing applications.
The subcommittee has many more objectives on deck. Members will seek to
review and develop standards or specifications that cover glazing products
in solar energy applications. They will work on drafting informational
bulletins on the subject to add to GANA’s library of bulletins, which
are available free to download at www.glasswebsite.com.
They will develop both education and training programs for the solar energy
and glazing industries and build a glossary of terms so that professionals
in the glazing industry and the solar energy industry are on the same
Most importantly, though, the subcommittee will be working to increase
the profile of glass and glazing products in solar energy applications.
Opportunities certainly already are available for our industry, but these
are only a beginning. With the creation of new technologies and new glazing
products, the future of solar energy will become synonymous with the future
of our industry.
Luckily, our industry, like solar energy applications, has changed tremendously
in the past 30-plus years. And just as the ’70s led to a very profitable
’80s, our efforts today can be the seeds of exciting profitability and
opportunity in the years ahead. To learn more about what we are doing
and how you can join the effort, visit our website at www.glasswebsite.com.
Bill Yanek is GANA’s executive vice president.
Mr Yanek’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this
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