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Corning joins Fortune 500 for solar

New York-based glass giant Corning, in business for 160 years, is now using its expertise in glass and manufacturing scale to enhance solar modules, helping to enable the scale-up of liquid crystal di…

New York-based glass giant Corning, in business for 160 years, is now using its expertise in glass and manufacturing scale to enhance solar modules, helping to enable the scale-up of liquid crystal displays. According to Gary Calabrese, vice president and director of Corning“s Photovoltaics Group, Corning“s glass can provide up to two percentage points of efficiency improvement, thanks to the use of higher-end speciality glasses using the fusion draw process, which creates glass drawn down off of a “double waterfall“ of molten glass, and fuses together the two flows. The outer confines of the glass do not touch any surface – just air. Usage of the Corning glass has allowed amorphous silicon (a-Si) equipment manufacturer Oerlikon to make progress, recently obtaining an 11.9% tandem junction efficiency for a-Si – post “light soaking“, without an anti-reflective (AR) coating. According to Calabrese, light stays in the absorber films longer, resulting in efficiency gains in a-Si. Corning is also working in the other thin film technologies – cadmium telluride and CIGS – although Calabrese would not reveal the cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar companies it is collaborating with. Corning“s glass innovations allow the glass to be treated at a higher temperature, thus improving deposition rates, throughput and quality of the film. Corning“s glass is also thinner and lighter, enabling to reduce installation time and shipping cost, as well as costs regarding embedded energy and energy involved in module processing.

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