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DuPont and DoE plan US$9m solar research programme

DuPont and the US Department of Energy (DoE) have announced plans for a US$9 million solar research programme, in line with DuPont’s aim to provide more mainstream solar photovoltaic (PV) products for commercial and residential applications.

The three-year solar research programme is designed to accelerate commercialisation of an ultra-thin protective film – more than 3000 times thinner than a human hair – that prevents moisture from degrading the performance of thin-film PV modules.

DuPont will provide US$6m and the DoE will contribute US$3m for the solar research programme. The DoE funding comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed earlier this year with the support of US Senators Tom Carper and Ted Kaufman.

Ultimately, the DoE funded programme could help enable the broad, commercial production of flexible PV modules that are durable and lightweight with higher efficiency, DuPont says. The initial focus of the programme is on copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin-film solar PV modules, however, the technology could also be leveraged into other PV technologies and potentially into other industries.

DuPont has said it expects to nearly triple its annual photovoltaic sales to more than US$1 billion in 2012 based on strong fundamentals for long-term revenue growth in the PV solar energy market, combined with the company’s ability to deliver new technologies to the industry.

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