LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa. -- At a recent ceremony at its corporate headquarters, John McGlade, Air Products' chairman, president and chief executive officer, flipped the switch on the company's new 2MW solar farm that is capable of supplying enough energy to power more than half of Air Products' administration buildings.
"It is really special to be able to demonstrate our customers' products and begin generating clean, renewable energy for our campus. It is a great opportunity for employees, our community and our customers to witness first-hand how our innovative products deliver sustainable solutions for photovoltaics customers," said McGlade.
The installation, built with panels supplied by Air Products' customers, Astronergy and ENN Solar, is the largest silicon thin-film project in the United States. Both Astronergy and ENN Solar use AirProducts' SunSourceT Solutions - a complete portfolio of gases and materials, equipment and services - to manufacture their silicon thin-film panels.
The 15-acre installation is capable of generating 2MW of renewable power, which will help Air Products reduce its dependence on purchased electricity and lower its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions footprint by approximately 2,000 tons per year.
Silicon thin-film photovoltaic (PV) panels, which convert sunlight directly into electricity, are manufactured in much the same way as thin-film transistor-liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCD). As one of the leading suppliers to the TFT-LCD industry, Air Products is ideally suited to supply silicon thin-film manufacturers. The company's expertise in supporting the broader Electronics industry makes it an excellent choice in supplying materials to other major PV technologies such as crystalline silicon, CdTe (Cadmium Teluride), CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Diselenide) and III-V compound cells as well.
The solar farm was made possible through investment by Air Products and a $1 million grant from Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as part of its 2008 Alternative Energy Funding Bill. Funding is administered by Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Financing Authority.