Air Products has more than 35 years’ experience of supplying essential gases and chemicals to the semiconductor industry. PES spoke to Jeff Handelman. General Manager, Photovoltaics about the company’s success story and about its commitment to the environment. Welcome to PES magazine. Can you first explain a little about the background of your company and how it serves the photovoltaic industry?
Jeff Handelman: Air Products is a global industrial gas company which has a significant presence in the electronics industry. For more than 35 years, we have been serving the semiconductor industry from its birth in Silicon Valley to its current home in places like Japan, Taiwan, Korea and China. As the thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) business developed, Air Products was there, supplying the necessary gases, chemicals and equipment for that industry’s growth. Air Products has a long-standing history serving the crystalline photovoltaic (PV) industry with bulk gases and chemicals and its experience in TFT-LCD should benefit Thin-film PV.
PES: Can you tell us about your recently-launched SunSource Solutions and the benefits they provide?
JH: SunSource is a portfolio of gases, chemicals, equipment, on-site services, and project-management experience, essentially a full turn-key offering that will help provide a faster ramp-up and the ability to reach grid parity more quickly for PV manufacturing operations. APD’s SunSource brand also enables Air Products’ customers to understand our commitment to the PV market through this dedicated offering.
PES: How has the market for gases and materials within the PV industry evolved in recent years?
JH: The market has gone from a nascent industry to high-volume manufacturing being driven by economies of scale. The plants we see being built are now in the 100MW range, up from single digits just a few years ago. In growing to that size, PV manufacturers will encounter difficulties Air Products has already helped solve in the semiconductor and TFT-LCD industries. Air Products is the industry leader in large-volume supply chain solutions and brings that expertise to help drive down cost of ownership for PV manufacturers.