Translating Advanced Solar Energy Concepts into Sustainable Manufacturing Operation

Austin-based architecture and land development services firm TAG International, L.L.P, announced today that it is designing a full-scale green manufacturing facility for HelioVolt, one of the renewable energy industry's most innovative technology leaders. Working in collaboration with HelioVolt as part of a design-build team with Harvey-Cleary Builders, TAG International will play an instrumental role in helping HelioVolt establish a state-of-the-art facility for producing high quality copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin film solar products based on the company's proprietary FASST(TM) manufacturing process.

Establishing the new facility entails the redesign and reuse of an existing building located in Austin's Expo Business Park. Leveraging the speed and flexibility of the FASST process, the new HelioVolt manufacturing operation will produce highly efficient thin film solar energy products aimed at revolutionizing the solar energy industry. HelioVolt products will include solar modules as well as next-generation solar products integrated onto building and construction materials, including metal, glass and roofing products. Transforming building exteriors into solar electricity generation systems, HelioVolt's building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products reduce installation costs and improve design aesthetics.

According to Dave Bowen, HelioVolt's vice president of manufacturing operations, the TAG/Harvey-Cleary team was selected from a competitive pool of design/build teams due to the flexibility in responding to HelioVolt's innovative processes, as well as TAG's in-depth experience designing specialized manufacturing facilities. TAG's long standing interest in sustainable design and lean manufacturing expertise enables a beneficial exchange of ideas and concepts between the TAG design team and HelioVolt. In addition to TAG and Harvey-Cleary, the project design team includes EEA Engineering, whose expertise in energy efficient HVAC and electrical design will play an integral role in the project.

"HelioVolt is committed to applying concepts of sustainability across all functions of our business, from our green facility to our solar products. As a fast-growth company tackling the dynamic arena of clean energy, it is essential that we have a design partner that is in synch with our approach to sustainability as well as our technical needs as we move our unique manufacturing process for solar thin film into full-scale commercial production," Bowen explains.

Ron Pope, the partner in charge of the HelioVolt project says, "TAG's understanding of green design principles, combined with our agility and expertise in creating custom-designed manufacturing processes, will be instrumental in helping HelioVolt align their design choices with their vision."

TAG will submit the HelioVolt project to the US Green Building Council for LEED Silver Certification. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a third-party certification designed for rating new and existing commercial, institutional and high-rise residential buildings. Austin was the first US city to require municipal buildings to seek LEED certification, and many private sector companies are now seeking LEED certification for their facilities. In designing the HelioVolt facility, TAG will incorporate a variety of green concepts including energy efficient lighting, water usage reduction, the reuse of an existing building, construction waste management, storm water management, and energy efficient HVAC systems using enhanced refrigerant management. TAG's design utilizes building materials with high recycled content and low VOC emissions, as well as regionally available materials. HelioVolt will encourage employees to use alternative transportation methods by providing access to public transportation, and offering bicycle storage and changing rooms at the new facility.

TAG brings to the project an established history of designing and managing international industrial manufacturing projects, along with proven expertise in employing lean manufacturing principles and passively integrating sustainable design strategies into building projects. The company provides architectural design and land development services for national and international clients across a spectrum of industries including commercial, industrial, health care, biotech and public sector organizations.

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