Glass and glazing system supplier Nippon Sheet Glass Co. (NSG Group) recently announced it would invest in additional transparent conductive oxide (TCO) glass production capacity at its plant in Rossford, Ohio, to support the solar market. The float line at Pilkington North America, a member of NSG Group, will begin shipping TCO glass for solar panels by Q1 2025.
Pilkington will supply glass to the expanding manufacturing campus of First Solar, just up the street near Perrysburg, Ohio. The two companies have had a lengthy manufacturing partnership, with NSG Group first starting a dedicated float line for solar glass in Vietnam in January 2020 and opening a new plant in Luckey, Ohio in November 2020. Another NSG Group float line was recently completed in Malaysia, and all glass produced in these plants is exclusively supplied to First Solar. Once this expanded line begins production in Rossford, NSG Group will have five dedicated lines for First Solar.
First Solar currently operates three solar panel manufacturing sites in Ohio, with approximately 7 GW of annual capacity. The thin-film solar panel manufacturer is also building two plants outside of Ohio — a 3.5-GW factory in Alabama and a 3.5-GW factory in Louisiana. They are expected to open in 2025 and 2026, respectively.
For solar panels to qualify for “domestic content” tax credits from the IRA, they must use American-made solar cells, frames, back rails, glass, encapsulants, backsheets, junction boxes, edge seals, pottants, adhesives, bus ribbons and bypass diodes. First Solar likely has the most American supply chain in the industry and will continue to have American glass with this NSG expanded relationship.