April 30, 2002 — Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ECD) announced the installation of the world’s largest photovoltaic (PV) system integrated in a metal roof.
The UNI-SOLAR® PV laminates cover the roof on one of the main sections of the UBISA factory owned by N.V. Bekaert S.A. in Burgos, Spain. With an installed capacity of 76 kWp (peak kilowatts), it is the largest metal PV roof in the world.
The system, a vertical seam metal roof in which flexible, self-adhesive UNI-SOLAR® PV laminates are attached to the roof elements by adhesion, was supplied by Bekaert ECD Solar Systems Europe, a joint venture between Bekaert ECD Solar Systems LLC, and United Solar Systems Corp. (United Solar), a joint venture between ECD and Bekaert.
In commenting on the installation, Stanford R. Ovshinsky, United Solar’s CEO and Chairman and ECD’s President and CEO, said, “We are pleased that this installation will showcase the uniqueness and versatility of our building- integrated photovoltaic products. It is one more step toward our goal of turning all roofs into electrical power generators.”
ECD, a world leader in thin-film amorphous PV, originated and developed the proprietary continuous web, multilayer, large-area thin-film amorphous silicon technology, which is being marketed under UNI-SOLAR® brand name and ovonics@work. UNI-SOLAR® PV laminates are ideally suited for photovoltaic systems integrated in buildings. Due to the availability of considerable roof areas in the Western world, it can be expected that, in industrialized countries, roof-integrated PV systems will make the greatest contribution towards the production of electricity via solar energy in the future. Pollution, climate change and dependence on foreign oil are challenges that can be successfully addressed by the ECD/United Solar approach.
In its efforts to create a clean environment and to comply with the Kyoto agreements, Spain is a vigorous promoter of renewable energy. Among other things, an attractive remuneration is provided for PV power supplied to the public electricity grid (euro 0.22 per kWh for large systems and euro 0.40 per kWh for power from systems smaller than 5kWp). The PV roof is also partly financed by the “Ente Regional de la Energia de Castilla y Leon (EREN),” which is a very good illustration of the joint commitment to sustainable development on the part of the government and industry.
ECD is a provider in the synthesis of new materials and the development of production technology and products. It has pioneered and developed enabling technologies to new products and production processes based on amorphous, disordered and related materials, with an emphasis on advanced information technologies and alternative energy, including photovoltaics, fuel cells, hydride batteries and hydride storage materials capable of storing hydrogen in the solid state for use as a feedstock for fuel cells or internal combustion engines or as an enhancement or replacement for any type of hydrocarbon fuel.
ECD designs and builds manufacturing machinery that incorporates its proprietary production processes, maintains ongoing research and development programs to continually improve its products, and develops new applications for its technologies. ECD holds the basic patents in its