Asahi Glass Co Ltd (AGC) announced May 23, 2014, that it will release a single-crystal silicon solar panel with a weight of 9.5kg, which is about half that of the company's previous product.
AGC will launch the new product in May 2014 as "Lightjoule." It reduced weight by using its "Leoflex" chemically strengthened glass with a thickness of 0.8mm in place of its 3.2mm super white glass as a cover glass, which accounts for about 70% of the weight of a solar panel. The Leoflex glass is manufactured by using a float glass process as in the case of glass substrates for LCD panels.
Thus far, Fujipream Corp has commercialized a solar panel using the slim cover glass, and AGC has employed the panel for its 5MW mega (large-scale) solar power plant installed on the roof of Takasago Office of the company's Kansai Plant (See related article).
More and more solar power generation systems are currently being installed on the large roofs of manufacturing plants, storehouses, public facilities, etc in Japan. However, in some cases, it is difficult to set up conventional solar panels due to the low load capacity of a roof.
In such cases, the number of solar panels installed on the roof is reduced, or the roof is reinforced. By using the new light-weight panel, it becomes possible to install a desired number of solar panels on a roof with a low load capacity without any construction work.
Also, because installation work can be carried out more efficiently, installation costs can be reduced. The maximum output and conversion efficiency of the new solar panel are 225W and 15.41%, respectively. The output of the panel is guaranteed for 20 years.