The world’s largest factory for solar powered windows, cladding and roofing materials will start up in Britain this month in what its owners hope will open a new era for energy-saving architecture.
Allied with energy giant BP, Romag Holdings designs its solar products to be part of a building's structure instead of traditional panels that bold onto the outside of buildings.
They are of variable size and offer architects various trade-offs between the amount of power the panels generate and the amount of light that will enter a building.
The factory will each year be able to make windows, building cladding and roof panels, incorporating BP’s power-producing solar crystalline cells, with a capacity to generate seven megawatts of electricity.
This would be enough to supply the existing UK solar panels market one and a half times over. It will use about 14 percent of BP’s 50 megawatts annual solar capacity production.
Chief Executive Lyn Miles said the product, to be called PowerGlaz, will be cheaper to produce than those of its rivals because of Romag’s glass processing expertise.
Under a joint venture deal, BP Solar has agreed to give Romag first refusal on all laminated glass panel projects, while Romag will buy all its photovoltaic cells from BP, one of the world’s leading solar energy developers.
BP Solar said the PowerGlaz "could revolutionize the use of renewable energy in building design."