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Low iron solar glass market outlook until 2017

Markets for low iron glass at USD 1.5 billion in 2010 are expected to reach USD 3.8 billion by 2017.
Global Information Inc. presents a new market research report, Low Iron Solar Glass Market Shares,…

Markets for low iron glass at USD 1.5 billion in 2010 are expected to reach USD 3.8 billion by 2017. Global Information Inc. presents a new market research report, Low Iron Solar Glass Market Shares, Strategies, and Forecasts, Worldwide, 2011 to 2017, by WinterGreen Research. Photovoltaic (PV) low iron glass represents 3% of world glass production and, according to the report, markets for low iron glass, at USD 1.5 billion in 2010, are expected to reach USD 3.8 billion by 2017. Growth is expected to achieve marked improvements, with low iron glass reaching 15% of total glass production in 2020 – the same level as automotive glass. Low iron glass is used by the solar industry and, therefore, low iron glass market growth is tied to solar market growth, and glass vendors are becoming experienced and innovative partners for solar plant operators. At the same time, float glass plants are designed for PV glass for thin film and solar panels, resulting in vendors also being dedicated to the production of PV thin film glass. Low iron solar glass technology gives solar panel and solar concentrator vendors the ability to build more efficient systems, while improved cost structures of the solar industry depend in part on improved efficiencies in low iron glass manufacturing. Government subsidies are, above all, the key growth factor driving demand in the solar market and are, except for local variations, expected to continue and increase. Solar market growth is taking place as systems reach grid parity, and solar technologies are being further developed. Demand is encouraged mainly by feed-in tariffs, while public pressure is pushing for stable support frameworks. The market is tied to the price of oil, and low-cost oil and gas reduce the need to look for alternative sources for electricity generation. Solutions to reach grid parity are needed in order to enable solar to become a long-term viable business, with coating technology and novel structures being among the most important issues. In the field of machining and finishing of thin glass with strengths of 0.95mm, glass is used for concentrating solar thermal power plants (CSP), while lead-and copper-free protection and coating systems are used for solar energy applications. Strong consideration needs to be given to on-line coatings, which increase cell performance, TCO, self-cleaning and anti-reflective. Market growth of low iron glass is forecast to undergo considerable growth at some point as solar energy becomes significantly less expensive than fossil fuel based energy. Solar energy requires low iron glass that is manufactured close to the place the panels are being used, therefore reducing transportation costs. Investments in existing low iron solar glass are needed to leverage existing and new economies for solar manufacturing. Significant initiatives worldwide are already demonstrating solar energy installation growth, such as Abengoa innovative technology solutions to achieve sustainable development in the energy and environment sectors. Abengoa has been offered conditional commitment for USD 1.2 billion US Federal Loan Guarantee to build the California based Mojave solar project. Saint-Gobain had PV glass sales of EUR 300,000 in 2010, and has an aggressive goal of EUR 200 million for PV glass sales in 2015. SunRun and US Bancorp have formed a partnership to purchase USD 200 million worth of solar residential systems in the US. SunRun installs USD 1 million of residential solar energy panels per day and operates in eight US states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

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