Sales of solar PV are expected to exceed US$1 billion in 2011, a year ahead of schedule, and the company has set a new goal to exceed US$2bn in sales by 2014.
“Our focus on delivering materials innovations that are essential to the photovoltaic industry's future growth is paying off for our customers and for DuPont,” explains David Miller of DuPont Electronics & Communications.
“We not only have the materials that provide superior performance and reliability to photovoltaic modules, but also the ability to match those products to the specific, individual needs of our customers and we are aggressively expanding to supply those materials in the volumes required by this high growth industry.”
Solar PV sales strong due to corporate innovation
Last year, DuPont sales to the solar PV market exceeded US$550 million, an increase of 25% from 2008, and ahead of the 10% of the broader solar industry which was experiencing lower growth. DuPont's growth is supported by innovations which improve module efficiency and lifetime, and enable new solar PV technologies and applications which accelerate the industry's drive to bring costs down in line with other forms of energy.
“We have seen strong demand that has led us to continue our trend of growing faster than the market due to several successful new product introductions and share gains based on a strong portfolio of materials-based offerings to global leading photovoltaic cell and module manufacturers,” adds Miller.
“We expect our growth momentum to continue because materials innovations are essential to delivering improved efficiency, longer lifetimes, and lower overall system costs to consumers.”
Queens Award for solar efficiency
Earlier this month, DuPont received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for its work on increasing the efficiency of solar cells. Her Majesty the Queen presented the award in the Innovation category for development of DuPont’s Solamet solar PV metallisation paste, a key component in increasing the energy efficiency of solar cells.
“The generation of renewable energy will be the fastest growing sector in the energy market for the next 20 years, and materials for photovoltaic applications are a critical success factor for sustainable growth,” explains Ian Hudson of DuPont Europe, Middle East & Africa.
“We can apply the power of our market-driven science to offer products and technologies that can transform the sun’s potential into clean energy, contributing to decreasing dependence on fossil fuels.”
In 1998, the efficiency of a crystalline silicon solar cell was 10%; now these cells operate at 16% for multi-crystalline wafers and at 18% for monocrystalline wafers, partly due to the performance offered by the metallisations that DuPont has developed.
Solar PV encapsulant facilitates thin-film production
Also this month, DuPont and Oerlikon Solar collaborated on an ultra-thin white reflective solar PV encapsulant sheet that enables easier manufacturing of thin-film solar modules. At 0.45 mm thick, the PV5223 encapsulant sheet is 40% lighter than traditional clear PVB and delivers more solar power at a lower cost per watt.
Founded in 1802 as an explosives company, Dupont now operates in 70 countries and has annual revenue of US$30bn with 60,000 employees. Its brands include Teflon, Corian, Kevlar and Tyvek.