Glass is an essential element of solar units converting solar energy into electricity. The glass protects the cells from the external elements and, depending on the type of glass, increases its energy generation capacity. For instance, extra-clear glass is used to maximize the transmission of sunlight to the photovoltaic cells.
There are many different technologies available to suit various requirements, from domestic systems to utility scale. Photovoltaic panels come in various shapes and colours offering flexibility for design integration and building integrated applications (BIPV).
Solar thermal collectors
Solar thermal collectors collect heat as opposed to photovoltaic panels which convert sunlight into electricity. They are usually applied to supply hot water or heat exchangers.
Several kinds of solar thermal collectors are today available for domestic or industrial applications and most of them require a flat glass cover. The glass protects the panel from external and weather conditions while letting sun heat through. In addition, thanks to insulation properties, it prevents the panel from cooling while exposed to cold air.
Concentrated Solar Power
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) systems use mirrors to concentrate sunlight and produce electricity from the sun at utility scale.
As a matter of fact, this technology is mainly used in regions with high levels of solar irradiance. Giant mirrors glass are used to redirect accurately the maximum amounts of light towards the focal point.