Volume 45, Issue 4 - April 2010

GANAPerspectives

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 big way.

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
objectives.

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 page.

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 magazine.

USG
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