Booming photovoltaics

The green blog has been noticing constant new chemical introductions focusing on the photovoltaics market and today, DuPont confirmed in a webcast the profitability of this sector to their electronics and communications business.

DuPont said it expects this year to achieve $1 billion in revenue from sales into the photovoltaic (PV) market — one year ahead of schedule, driven by new market-driven innovations that improve solar module efficiency and performance, bringing costs down in line with other forms of energy. The company expects to exceed $2bn in sales by 2014.

“Several notable new product launches this year have helped us to accelerate growth above market. We also are investing in greater production capability and partnering with our customers to help keep pace with the fast-rising global demand,” said Dave Miller, president of DuPont Electronics and Communication.

This month, DuPont announced the expansion of its Solamet® PV metallization pastes production in Manati, Puerto Rico; Dongguan, China; and Taoyuan, Taiwan. The investment, which is expected to be completed next year, will more than double DuPont’s total Solamet® production capacity.

The PV metallization pastes are made from silver and other materials, which collect electricity produced by the solar cell and transport it out of the cell. They play a critical role in how efficiently PV modules turn sunlight into electricity.

In late August, DuPont started its newly expanded polyvinyl fluoride (PVF) polymer resin capacity in Fayetteville, N.C. The resin is a critical raw material used to make DuPont’s Tedlar® PVF film, which is a component of PV backsheets. The company is also increasing its Tedlar® film production production, which is expected to start up at Circleville, Ohio, in September 2011.

In June, DuPont opened its North American PV applications lab in Wilmington, Del., to support PV materials development. The lab is expected to accelerate introduction of new PV materials and engineering innovations by linking DuPont science and engineering with full-size module fabrication and state-of-the-art testing capabilities.

Here is Miller’s webcast presentation which showed where growth of PV installations are coming from between 2010 and 2014 (USA at the top followed by Germany). PV growth is forecasted between 25-30% between 2010 and 2015.

Here are some of the recent announcements from chemical companies targeting the PV sectors:

Rhodia Group: Rhodia invests in breakthrough photovoltaic technology

Honeywell Announces New Materials for Increased Efficiency of Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells

Arkema’s plastics aid photovoltaics boom

Dow Solar to Begin Hiring For Midland Plant

Ferro Expands Photovoltaic Technology Center Capability in Asia

Suntech Solar Panels Certified for Ammonia Resistance

JA Solar and ECN Join Efforts to Introduce High Efficiency Photovoltaic Modules

Solutia Completes Acquisition of Etimex Solar

Saint-Gobain to Build a Second Plant to Produce High-Efficiency Photovoltaic Modules

Clariant sets new limits in solar heating

Consulting Reports:

Solar Photovoltaics: Opportunities for Manufacture and Use

Major Investments Drive Growth of German Solar Industry

Emergence of New Photovoltaics Products Enables Widespread Use of Solar Power

Miscellaneous announcements:

Frito-Lay Modesto Powers Facility With Help From the Sun

Underwriters Laboratories Expands Its Global Photovoltaic Footprint to Japan

Intertek Doubles Its North American Solar (PV) Testing Capacity

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