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January/February 2010
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Glass for Solar Applications

A new ASTM International standards developing activity, Subcommittee E44.20 on Glass for Solar Applications, was formed during a virtual meeting on Sept. 29. Meeting participants, including government representatives, equipment and product manufacturers and members of ASTM International Committees E44 on Solar, Geothermal and Other Alternative Energy Sources and C14 on Glass and Glass Products approved the formation of the subcommittee, which will be under E44 jurisdiction.

“Since glass is so widely used in solar devices, glass standards for solar applications will foster solar industry growth by making the glass of consistent quality and characteristics available from many suppliers,” says Glenn Strahs, U.S. Department of Energy and an E44 member.

The scope of the new subcommittee is “the development and maintenance of standards for glass and glass coatings for solar applications that include, but are not limited to, photovoltaic, solar thermal and concentrating applications. The standards will address the characteristics that affect performance, durability and reliability.” In agreeing to the scope, virtual meeting participants also noted that the work of the subcommittee will be coordinated with other ASTM committees and outside organizations having mutual interest.

An April 2008 workshop held by DOE to explore how the glass and solar industries could best meet each other’s needs served as the impetus for the formation of E44.20. During the workshop, it was decided that solar glass standards should be developed so that any solar manufacturer would be able to purchase glass from different suppliers as long as it met necessary standards for transmissivity, strength, coatings and other characteristics. Following this workshop, DOE consulted with ASTM International, which ultimately led to the formation of the new subcommittee.

Among the potential topics that may be covered in E44.20 standards are the following:

  • Photovoltaic applications — crystalline and thin film;
  • Glass — strength, characteristics, composition, use in CSP devices and other topics;
  • Coatings — silver coatings; reflective and antireflective; textured glass rating system;
  • Film quality — coating specifications, thickness, optical properties, electrical properties, morphology; and
  • Durability and reliability — mechanical properties, longevity of structure.

All interested parties are invited to participate in the standards developing activities of Subcommittee E44.20.

CONTACT

ASTM Staff: Christine DeJong

Phone: 610-832-9736