PPG Industries’ flat glass business can now manufacture heat-strengthened glass in thicknesses of less than 3mm, which makes it among the first major glass manufacturers in North America to offer this capability.

The company can produce heat-strengthened glass in thicknesses of 2, 2.5 and 2.7mm with surface-compression strength that is designed to exceed that of fully toughened glass (greater than 10,000 pounds per square inch), while achieving ASTM C1048 standards for flatness.

The added strength gives thin glass used in various solar applications, which requires resistance to wind load, hail impact and other environmental hazards, the ability to meet UL and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards as well, which may help solar-module and solar-mirror manufacturers in North America.

When incorporated into solar modules, heat-strengthened thin glass permits more sunlight to reach the active layer, which enhances the conversion of sunlight into energy and increases power output.

According to the company, with 2mm Solarphire glass, solar transmittance improves by 0.3% compared to 3.2mm glass and by 0.5% compared to 4mm glass.

Heat-strengthened thin glass can also give solar manufacturers the opportunity to cut downstream costs. For instance, manufacturers may reduce material costs for solar modules by using glass-on-glass module designs that eliminate the need for – and expense associated with – traditional protective plastic or polyvinyl fluoride (PVF) backing.