John McGlade, Air Products’ Chairman, President and CEO, has flipped the switch on the company’s new 2MW solar farm, capable of supplying enough energy to power more than half of Air Products’ administration buildings.

In a move that appears to reflect the increasing focus on clean energies and the company’s own commitment to the development of the solar sector, the 15-acre installation is capable of generating 2MW of renewable power.

The installation, built with panels supplied by Air Products’ customers, Astronergy and ENN Solar, is the largest silicon thin-film project in the US. Both Astronergy and ENN Solar use Air Products’ SunSource™ Solutions—a complete portfolio of gases and materials, equipment and services—to manufacture their silicon thin-film panels.

Speaking as he flipped the switch, McGlade said, “It is really special to be able to demonstrate our customers' products and begin generating clean, renewable energy for our campus.”

“It is a great opportunity for employees, our community and our customers to witness first-hand how our innovative products deliver sustainable solutions for photovoltaics customers.”

The installation, capable of generating 2MW of renewable power, will help Air Products reduce its dependence on purchased electricity and lower its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions footprint by approximately 2,000 tons per year.

Silicon thin-film photovoltaic (PV) panels, which convert sunlight directly into electricity, are manufactured in much the same way as thin-film transistor-liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCD). As one of the leading suppliers to the TFT-LCD industry, Air Products is ideally suited to supply silicon thin-film manufacturers.

The solar farm itself was made possible through investment by Air Products and a $1m grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as part of its 2008 Alternative Energy Funding Bill. Funding is administered by Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Financing Authority.