UK5, the NSG Group float line at Greengate, St. Helens, has now reopened - with the first glass due off the line in February. The plant will manufacture glass for solar energy applications, creating around 200 jobs in the local area.
The glass which is manufactured at UK5 and then cut to size at the neighbouring Cowley Hill Works, is part of the Group’s 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.
David Pinder, Managing Director, Pilkington UK and South Europe Building Products Business, said: “The development of solar energy technologies offers huge opportunities for the glass industry. The global solar market has roughly doubled in 2010 compared with 2009. 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.”