Cardinal Solar Technologies (ST) in Spring Green, Wis., a fully owned subsidiary of Cardinal Glass Industries, has been awarded a $7.7 million tax credit under President Obama’s stimulus plan to re-tool its Northfield, Minn., facility. The credit is available upon the facility’s progression from residential door and window coating operations to production of thin film coatings for use in the manufacturing of solar modules.

Andy Jensen, vice president/general manager of Cardinal ST, explains that the process of earning the tax credit began when the company completed and submitted a formal 48C tax credit application in October 2009. The tax credit is part of the Recovery Act, which is focused on building a robust domestic manufacturing capacity to supply clean and renewable energy projects with American made parts and equipment.

Cardinal’s research and development team spent the past three years developing thin film coatings to be used by solar module manufacturers. These thin film coatings (transparent conductive oxide, anti-reflective, and low maintenance photocatalytic) will be tailored to specific customer module requirements to optimize their energy production.

“Once our thin film development work is completed, it will take us approximately six months to re-tool our Northfield coating operation,” says Jensen.

He adds that Cardinal’s large area thin film coating process enables the company’s solar thin films to be engineered to match customer requirements while maintaining a low-cost platform.

At this time, Jensen says the company “will be maintaining the current staffing levels, but with the expected growth in the solar industry over the next couple years we are optimistic that the Northfield operation will benefit from that growth.”

He says they do not have any plans at this time to open additional solar facilities, but it is something that could be considered in the future.

“As one of the world’s leading technology companies in glass and thin film coatings we are ready to react to the opportunities that the solar industry will bring to the United States over the next several years,” says Jensen. “We believe that the stimulus plan will be one significant step to encourage renewable energy projects in the United States and will drive demand for our solar customer’s products.


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