DuPont Teams Up With DOE for Photovoltaic EffortsAugust 5th, 2009 | Category: Industry News
DuPont recently announced plans to team up with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a $9 million solar research program centered on providing more mainstream solar photovoltaic (PV) products for commercial and residential applications. The resulting three-year program is designed to accelerate commercialization of an ultra-thin protective film designed to prevent moisture from degrading the performance of thin-film PV modules, a key challenge cited in using thin film technologies outside of applications involving glass. DuPont officials say funding for the project is a direct result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed earlier this year.
DuPont officials say thin film PV modules are projected to be the fastest growing segment of the solar module industry, because of their potential to reduce the cost of producing solar-derived energy. DuPont will provide $6 million and the DOE will contribute $3 million to the program.
“I was pleased to be at DuPo
nt today to highlight the good work being done right here in Delaware,” says Delaware Senator Tom Carper. “By developing cutting edge solar energy technology, DuPont continues to be at the forefront of the path to energy independence. DuPont is a world leader in these technologies and I could not be more proud of the work that they do.”
Thin film PV panels can be
made with flexible plastic instead of glass, and can be bent and wrapped, offering the possibilities of integration into roofing, windows or siding. But environmental degradation can take place in the absence of a protector material, such as glass, which provides a permanent shield for the sensitive portions of the module.
“We are at a point in our history where we can no longer put off difficult decisions. Renewable energy is a necessity: Our job situation demands it, our economy demands it, and our national security demands it,” says Senator Ted Kaufman, who came to Delaware in the 1960s to work for DuPont. “As a proud DuPont alum who now has this special opportunity in the Senate, I am thrilled with the leadership everyone here has exhibited.”
“Today marks the latest in a string of partnerships DuPont and the U.S. Department of Energy has collaborated in advancing sustainable energy innovations,” says DuPont vice president and chief sustainability officer Linda J. Fisher. “This particular technological advancement brings potential to accelerate the use of solar energy by making it more affordable, flexible and efficient in its application. We are prepared to move from the lab to pilot scale manufacturing.”
The initial focus of the program will remain on Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) type thin film PV modules, however DuPont officials say the technology could be leveraged into other PV technologies and potentially into other industries.