As published in Toledo Business Journal - November 1, 2018

First Solar’s new plant under construction in Perrysburg Township will be supplied by NSG’s planned new float glass plant

First Solar’s new plant under construction in Perrysburg Township will be supplied by NSG’s planned new float glass plant

Solar growth driving $260M+ NSG plant

Troy Twp. site in Wood Co. close to First Solar and gas pipeline

NSG Group is planning to invest over $332 million in the expansion of production capacity of online TCO (transparent conductive oxide) coated glass to support its growing solar market. The investment will fund the upgrade and restart of a currently dormant float line in Vietnam and the construction of a new glass production facility in the United States over the next three years.

In late September, NSG filed an Enterprise Zone Agreement application with the Wood County Commissioners for a potential site in Troy Township near the large Home Depot distribution center, which opened in September 2015. The company advised that it was also considering a site located in Michigan for this project.

NSG recently announced that it has selected the site in Troy Township at Eastwood Commerce Center South. The site selection is pending approval of state and local incentive packages. The site was rezoned this past summer at the request of its owner, The East Ohio Gas Co., a Dominion Energy subsidiary. The site is in close proximity to First Solar, a large NSG customer that is undertaking a major expansion with its new plant under construction in Perrysburg Township. The large solar panel facility being constructed by First Solar will cost $400M, be one million square feet, and create 500 new jobs. The new NSG plant will use a significant amount of natural gas in its float glass process and an important attraction of the Troy Twp. site is the adjacent Dominion Energy natural gas pipeline.

NSG has been a major supplier to First Solar. “Our company has a rich tradition in the glass industry and strong roots in Ohio and we are pleased to expand our US glass manufacturing here,” said Richard Altman, NSG’s regional director Architectural Glass North America.

The new float glass plant, estimated to cost between $260 and $294 million, will be 511,000 square feet and will cost up to $87 million to construct. The main complex will be 480,000 square feet with 24,000 square feet of office space and 31,000 square feet of ancillary facilities. It will house new machinery and equipment estimated to cost up to $185 million. There will be up to an additional $20 million of inventory at the site.

NSG expects that the new plant will provide 125 to 150 new jobs for the area. This includes 41 salaried positions and 109 hourly workers. It will add $7.2 million of new payroll for the area comprised of $4.2 million for salaried personnel and $3.1 million for hourly employees. The average hourly wage is expected to be $18.41.

The expanded global production capacity for TCO glass is expected to accelerate a shift in the company’s product portfolio towards VA (value-added) products while supporting a long-term supply agreement with First Solar, a large provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems. According to First Solar, global solar demand is expected to see a double-digit increase every year in the next three years and First Solar is expanding its production capacity in Perrysburg Township for Series 6, its latest thin film module system with higher efficiency and energy yield.

NSG’s existing float glass plant located in Rossford

NSG’s existing float glass plant located in Rossford

According to the company, NSG’s TCO glass – manufactured with the online coating technology in which a conductive oxide on the glass surface is formed during its passage through the float line – is durable with a wide range of applications. With the expanded supply capability for VA products including solar glass and other products, NSG Group intends to drive its growth strategy while supporting the increased use of renewable energy.

According to NSG, its TEC™ product group includes a comprehensive range of TCO optimized to suit a variety of thin film photovoltaics, with different haze and conductivity levels. All the company’s NSG TEC™ products are manufactured using a patented chemical vapor deposition process to produce a durable, pyrolytic coating that may be heat strengthened or fully tempered, providing complete flexibility for photovoltaic module production.

Each of NSG’s products within the TEC™ Range is targeted at a particular thin film photovoltaic technology. For a-Si, a-Si/μ-Si, CdTe and DSSC technologies, properties such as light transmittance, transparent conductive oxide conductivity (sheet resistance), and light trapping (haze) can be optimized to meet individual customer requirements, according to the company.

NSG Group (Nippon Sheet Glass, Co. Ltd.) is an international manufacturer of glass and glazing products for the architectural, automotive industry, and technical glass sectors. Founded in 1918, the company was transformed in 2006 with the acquisition of Pilkington plc, itself a large international glass manufacture and the inventor of the float glass process. The Pilkington name was retained as a brand for the group’s architectural and automotive products.

 

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