While Shell abandons the solar and wind market in favor of biofuels, DuPont meanwhile expects the solar market to increase more than half of its size in 2013 to $70 billion as compared to today’s $30 billion (worldwide).
I can understand DuPont’s enthusiasm for the solar market since sales of their photovoltaic materials and technology seem to be doing good. The company expects to nearly triple its annual photovoltaic sales to more than $1 billion in 2012. DuPont said it has been dabbling in photovoltaic materials development and manufacturing for 25 years now.
That is why it also makes sense for Shell to just focus on fuel since isn’t that their core strength anyway? I do wonder if BP will follow Shell’s footstep as well.
Back to DuPont, the company says it will invest in increasing its production capability to meet the rising demand.
Another specialty chemical company that is investing a lot in photovoltaics these days is Germany-based Wacker Chemie. According to ICIS News (subscription required), Wacker will invest €800m ($1.04bn) this year with the “vast majority” going towards its polysilicon business.
Wacker’s polysilicon sales jumped 81% to €828m for 2008. Here in the US, the company announced in late February that it plans to invest $1bn (mid-term) in a new polysilicon facility in Tennessee. Wacker says the new plant will create about 500 new jobs.
One incentive from Tennessee, as reported by Associated Press, is that they’re offering to cover the cost of any future carbon tax for green companies that make major investments in the state.
The credit would apply to any green energy supply chain company investing at least $250 million. Aside from Wacker, Hemlock Semiconductor ( a joint venture between Dow Corning Corp. and Japanese firms, Shin-Etsu Handotai and Mitsubishi Materials) plans to set up a $1.2 billion polysilicon shop as well in Montgomery County, Tennessee.
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