DuPont Solar Program Advances the Science of Renewable Energy
DuPont today announced the launch of a solar energy program at its Chestnut Run facilities here to further its research in next-generation solar panel technology.
The company has installed three rows of large photovoltaic solar panels to convert the sun's energy into electricity for an existing R&D and business facility at the site. The system, which can provide enough electricity for eight homes, was installed by WorldWater & Power Corp. The solar panels were made by GE Energy in Newark, Del. The system is being equally funded by DuPont and a Green Energy Fund grant from the Delaware Energy Office.
"This is a great example of our science and innovation providing materials that enable businesses and consumers to convert sunlight directly into electricity," said Charles O. Holliday, Jr., DuPont chairman and CEO. "Our 'One DuPont' offering across businesses provides sustainable business solutions that will give us a competitive advantage in the growing market space of renewable energy technology."
DuPont offers the broadest portfolio in the market, with eight essential products. In addition to three sites in the United States, the company is conducting research on solar energy in the U.K., Switzerland, China and Japan. DuPont has made a corporate commitment to have at least 10 percent of its power produced by renewable energy sources by 2010, some of which will be supplied through solar panel technology. Today, over 5 percent of its power is produced by renewable energy sources. Solar panels convert light into electrical energy through the use of photovoltaic solar cells. The cell assemblies are encapsulated into water-resistant panels for protection from moisture and impact. The company has plans to invest approximately $100 million to expand its product offerings in this rapidly growing market.
Cynthia C. Green, DuPont Fluoroproducts vice president and general manager, said: "Our primary focus is to lower the energy cost by improving the efficiency and lifetime of solar panels. Studying the on-site panels will allow us to do just that, using an installed commercial system. We are also looking for ways to provide better installations with better design capabilities. Our goal is to have something that is ultimately integrated into a system that is lighter weight, easier to install and better integrated with building design."
With better efficiency, DuPont expects that the cost for solar panels will begin to decrease, in turn reducing the cost per watt of power produced for a business or home. While the solar panels are still expensive, the purchase of solar panels guarantees an electricity supply for residential homes for at least 25 years.
The principal components of a solar panel include glass, encapsulant, silicon wafers and associated metallization and circuitry, and a protective backsheet. With the exception of the silicon, DuPont provides technological solutions for each component. Among the products used are:
-- DuPont(TM) Elvax(R) EVA copolymer resins for the encapsulant sheet,
which cushions individual cells from impact and enables the
transmission of sunlight to the cells;
-- DuPont(TM) Teflon(R) fluoropolymer film for flexible panels, offering
mechanical strength against cracking and abrasion, flexibility and
nearly 100 percent transparency;
-- DuPont(TM) Tedlar(R) polyvinyl fluoride for the UV- and weather-
-- DuPont(TM) Solamet(R) photovoltaic materials for the conductive front
and backside metallizations;
-- DuPont(TM) SentryGlas(R) interlayers to make durable glass panels;
-- DuPont(TM) Surlyn(R) ionomer resins for the encapsulant sheet, which
provide optical properties, strength, durability and UV resistance;
-- Mylar(R) polyester film for the backsheet to provide added protection
from the environment;
-- DuPont(TM) Rynite(R) PET thermoplastic resins for strong, durable and
dimensionally stable molded parts.
DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions provides the broadest offering of products in the industry using DuPont science to provide sustainable solutions from DuPont Fluoroproducts, DuPont Electronic Technologies, DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers and DuPont Teijin Films.
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