Air Products (NYSE:APD) today announced it has chosen Blue Sky Solar as its turnkey installer for its 2MW solar farm at its US headquarters in Allentown, Pa.
Blue Sky Solar will be executing the project with Newkirk Electric Associates providing the mechanical and electrical construction.
Blue Sky Solar will be installing silicon, tandem thin-film photovoltaic (PV) panels from ENN Solar and Astronergy, two Air Products customers. Both ENN and Astronergy use Air Products’ SunSource™ Solutions—a complete portfolio of gases and materials, equipment and services—to manufacture their silicon thin-film panels.
Thanks to some early engineering work, including the optimization of the solar field size with the inverter equipment, Air Products now expects to generate about 2MW of electricity versus the previously announced 1.5MW. By utilizing the 2MW of renewable power, Air Products reduces its dependence on purchased electricity thereby lowering its carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint by approximately 2,000 tons per year. The 2MW of electricity are enough to serve the energy needs of more than half of Air Products’ administration buildings.
Silicon thin-film solar 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.
“Air Products’ SunSource Solutions provide photovoltaic manufacturers with the ability to improve their production and drive down their costs-per-watt, bringing them closer to the goal of grid parity,” said David Tavianini, worldwide PV marketing manager for Air Products. “Air Products is pleased to see the US solar market continue to expand and is proud to be building one of the largest silicon thin-film installations in the country.”
While Air Products provides its SunSource Solutions to several PV technologies, silicon thin-film panels were selected because they provided the lowest cost of energy for the project parameters. Their advantageous performance in diffuse light¯the light most typical in the US Northeast¯and their cost-effective installation for large area projects were drivers in the sourcing selection. Air Products expects to begin construction this fall and have the installation onstream in the spring of 2011.