Solar Glazing, USGlass

The Solar Situation

Back in the late 1970s technology became available that would allow you to record programs from your television to watch at a later date. Multiple technologies, including VHS, Beta and a few other lesser ones were developed.

Moviemakers recognized immediately what a good new revenue stream this could be for them, but did not want to bet the farm on any one of the technologies as it would be costly for them to make an investment before they knew which type of technology would become dominant. They urged the makers of the recording equipment to develop one technology and one standard. That never happened.

 That the lesser ones disappeared quickly enough but Sony’s Beta and VHS fought a good war for a few years before VHS emerged the winner. Most of this is irrelevant today, because even VHS was an interim technology. Today, we use DVDs and Blue Rays, Movies on Demand and Tivos to record what we want to watch.

 What is relevant was the chicken-and-egg debate that went on. The moviemakers said “if you build one technology we will come,” but the electronics makers could not bring themselves to do so. This left most moviemakers to make modest investments in multiple technologies while awaiting the emergence of the eventual winner.

I offer this long story because that is where the solar glazing industry is today. We have three main types of such glazing available, along with a number of lesser kinds. Architects, building owners and developers are telling the glass industry that “if you create the technology we will use it.” The glass industry is saying “if you use it, we will create it.” Right now, solar accounts for less than three percent of the glass produced in the world. In order for the industry to make significant investments in it, that percentage is going to have to increase.

 So everyone, I think, is getting ready and becoming poised for action. If you watched our solar newscast  you’ll see Scott Thomsen of Guardian and GANA’s Brian Pitman seem to make contradictory statements. In reality, both their comments are true.

 Solarpeq 2010 reflected this. For right now, it is a loose amalgamation of exhibiting companies that, for the most part, have some solar technology yet few thus far have made it central to their core. From what I could see, only one company actually displayed a curtainwall/roofing system with integrated PV.

Whether Solarpeq is the chicken or the egg remains to be seen. But as glasstec has built it, will they come?