The Sun is Rising on Glasstec 2008

At times of climatic change and dwindling energy resources, the solar energy applications market is booming. In this connection the material glass assumes a special function. The solar energy theme will take on a correspondingly high significance at the forthcoming glasstec in October 2008.

At the previous event two years ago, it was already clearly evident that more than 30 percent of glasstec visitors had a specific interest in solar energy themes. In addition to the classic areas such as laser technology, functional coatings, technical glass, bent glass and special glass, this year's glasstec is therefore intensively devoting itself to the themes of photo-voltaic and solar thermal energy.

Just about six months before the launch of the leading international fair, the number of exhibitors from these sectors has already doubled. The participants include leading companies such as Centrosolar, Solarwatt, Scheuten Solar or Schott Solar. Participants represented from the mechanical engineering sector include Grenzebach, Reis Robotics and Bystronic-Lenhardt.

The theme of solar energy will also be covered live in very great detail at the specialist symposium within the framework of the glass technology live special show. For the first time two of the total of five conference days are exclusively devoted to the themes of photo-voltaic and solar thermal energy. In this connection, the themes covered include solar glass, solar modules and methods of building integration. In 2006 at the last glasstec alone, the high-ranking specialist conference attracted more than 4, 500 participants.

The glass industry is expected to present numerous new solutions on the theme of solar energy, which in some cases, are being presented for the first time at glasstec 2008. In this context attention will mainly be focused on thin-film modules for photo voltaic systems. Thin-film solar cells are a very promising alternative to conventional silicon solar cells as they consist of a layer of just a few 1,000ths of a millimetre. This enables not only an immense materials saving but also fast and cost-effective production processes.

The solar energy industry is also an extremely interesting market for the glass machine manufacturers, because glass is used for the permanent protection of functional surfaces in both solar energy as well as photo-voltaic systems. For example, ultra-white special glass ensures increased efficiency of the solar modules.

For the cell, module and primary product manufacturers in the solar energy sector the application of powerful, efficient and reliable production technology is of existential significance, because the number of providers is growing worldwide. Trend-setting, future-orientated concepts from the machinery and plant manufacturers help to proactively counter the cost pressure, increase efficiency and reduce product rejection quotas in the long term. Technology thus becomes a key for securing competitiveness on the solar energy market.

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