Solar, Utility Integration

Teamwork for Commercializing Solar BIPV

Spheral Solar and ElkCorp are teaming up to design, manufacture, test and commercialize a new generation of fully integrated photovoltaic (PV) roofing products, primarily for use in residential buildings.

Cambridge, Ontario – November 17, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The new products will take advantage of Elk’s extensive knowledge and expertise in the residential roofing materials market and the unique qualities of Spheral Solar (SSP) Technology. The companies will bring considerable expertise to developing BIPV or Building-Integrated Photovoltaic products, which have long been considered the ultimate solution for the PV industry because significant reductions in material and installation costs can be achieved by making the solar PV an integral part of a building. Unlike traditional solar electric systems, which generally require mounting hardware and numerous roof penetrations for installation, BIPV products can be installed much like a building material without costly hardware and roof penetrations. Additionally, the overall aesthetics of the building are less impacted by the PV system. “Finding strong partners in the building materials industry is key to our commercialization plan,” said Milfred Hammerbacher, SSP’s President. “Elk brings to this relationship a wealth of experience, earned over the past 45+ years, in the roofing industry and a proven track record of technological innovation. We are excited to have them involved in the development of truly innovative building products utilizing our new Spheral Solar Technology.” Elk specializes in building product technology and has developed numerous integrated solutions for the roofing industry as well as consumer goods. The company said these products have served to reduce costs, increase safety and productivity. Among these are the VersaShield line of fire barrier products and RidgeCrest line of integrated ridge cap and vent. “Developing and integrating value added technology is fundamental to Elk’s business process,” said Tom Karol, ElkCorp’s chairman and CEO. “The successful integration of photovoltaic technology into cost effective and aesthetically pleasing products is a project for which Elk is well positioned.” Spheral Solar’s parent company, ATS Automation Tooling Systems (ATS) and SSP are currently commercializing their proprietary Spheral Solar Technology and building their first 20 MW production facility in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. This new PV technology allows for solar cells to be manufactured using thousands of tiny silicon beads bonded in an aluminum foil. SSP expects the resulting flexible solar cell to dramatically reduce the cost of solar energy and open a broad range of new uses of solar power by industrial, commercial and residential users worldwide. The cells are lightweight, pliable and break resistant and can be formed into a variety of shapes and sizes.