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DuPont completes US$295m solar PV expansion

DuPont has invested US$175 million to complete the multi-phase expansion of its high-performance DuPont™ Tedlar® PV2001 series oriented film production line for solar photovoltaics (PV).

The investment is in addition to US$120m in capacity expansions, announced in August 2009, for raw materials used to make the solar PV film, bringing the total commitment of these two phases to US$295m.

Tedlar films serve as a critical component of solar PV backsheets, providing long-term durability and performance for solar PV modules in all-weather conditions, DuPont says.

The solar PV backsheet film line expansion will be located at the DuPont Circleville, Ohio, facility using existing and retrofitted assets.

The expansion provides Tedlar oriented film capacity to support global demand of over 10 GW of solar PV module production. Film production is scheduled to start up in September 2011.

The manufacturing steps for Tedlar oriented solar PV backsheet film include producing vinyl fluoride (VF) monomer, which is converted into polyvinyl fluoride (PVF) polymer resins, and extruded into the Tedlar film.

DuPont plans to increase monomer and polymer resin capacity by more than 50%. Construction is under way for these new monomer and resin facilities at the DuPont Louisville, Kentucky, and Fayetteville, North Carolina, sites, respectively, and the facilities are scheduled to start up in mid-2010.

DuPont says it anticipates that the solar PV market will grow rapidly over the next several years, and this growth will drive the demand for Tedlar and other new materials that increase the lifetime and efficiency of solar cells and modules.

DuPont expects that overall sales of its family of products into the solar PV industry will exceed US$1 billion by 2012.

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity