Wayne Boor, Manager, Solar Technology Transfer for PPG Industries’ performance glazings division, has confirmed that industry forecasters expect solar glazings to account for at least 10-20% of flat glass sales by 2015.

As part of a presentation at the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA’s) Solar Symposium in July 2010, Mr Boor said he expects the rise of solar glazings to resemble an earlier era of glass industry innovation – the growth of automotive glass.

He explained that prior to 1900, almost all flat glass manufactured in the USA was for architectural applications. By 1940, automotive glass accounted for approximately 25% of all flat glass sales. A similar arch was predicted for solar glazings, which currently account for approximately 2% of flat glass sales, Mr Boor said.

To increase the efficiency of solar glass, Mr Boor confirmed that PPG Industries is working closely with industry leaders to advance several technologies. The first is to make glass substrates more transparent to solar energy, by combining special low-iron batch materials with proprietary process techniques to lower iron ‘redox’.

The company is also developing thin-film coatings that prevent sodium migration under high temperatures, introduce surface conductivity or make solar glazings either anti-reflective or highly reflective, depending on the desired property.

Mr Boor also said that for concentrated solar power (CSP) applications, he predicts a movement towards self-cleaning solar glass that maintains mirror reflectivity and performance.