Pilkington has announced the reopening of its UK5 float line at Greengate, St. Helens at the end of 2010. The plant will manufacture glass for solar energy applications, creating around 130 jobs in the local area.
The glass manufactured at UK5 is part of the Group’s wide range of solar energy products used around the world in the three leading solar technologies aimed at converting solar energy into electricity - thin film photovoltaics, crystalline silicon photovoltaics and concentrated solar power applications – as well as solar thermal applications aimed at generating hot water.
The NSG TEC™ glass manufactured at UK5 is used as an active component in most thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules. It incorporates a transparent conductive coating which allows solar energy to enter the PV modules and then conducts the generated electricity out.
Matt Buckley, Commercial Director UK and South Region, said: “The development of solar energy technologies offers huge opportunities for the glass industry. The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) forecasts growth rates of more than 30 per cent per annum for PV through to 2013. The solar energy sector is very much global with many countries showing strong demand, it is important we are in a position to respond to this increase in demand - diversifying our products and production techniques at UK5 do just that.
“With traditional Building Products glass demand expected to be at levels lower than those experienced during maximum production in 2007 for some time, the re-opening of UK5 for this new use means the assets can be used for a brand new application.
“We have a strong heritage in the St. Helens region for glass making so it’s particularly pleasing that as new technologies develop we are able to adapt with the creation of in excess of 100 jobs.”