DuPont (NYSE: DD) announced this week that it purchased Innovalight to grow its line of materials for the solar industry. Now known as DuPont Innovalight, the subsidiary makes a silicon ink that helps boost the efficiency of silicon photovoltaics.
The materials giant said silicon inks used in with its Solamet photovoltaic metallization pastes can help manufacturers develops Selective Emitter solar cells.
“According to industry estimates, Selective Emitter technology could represent 13 percent of crystalline silicon solar cell production by 2013 and up to 38 percent by 2020,” the company said in a press release.
Selective-emitter technologies in solar cells help increase the flow of electrons through the cells, increasing their efficiency.
“Innovalight is already able to supply a fair amount of the market,” said Rob Cockerill, business manager of DuPont Innovalight. “We’re excited to help accelerate the adoption of this technology in the marketplace for our customers.”
The technology will help reduce the cost of ownership for silicon photovoltaics, according to Cockerill.
“This technology can deliver an efficiency improvement of up to 1 percent,” he said.
By increasing the efficiency with an inexpensive step of adding the ink, it can add increased value to a finished unit.
Although the purchase of Innovalight brings DuPont one step closer to offering all the materials for a complete crystalline silicon photovoltaic product, that’s not the company’s real focus, Cockerill said.
“DuPont’s core capability is as a material supplier,” he said. The company is not currently planning on venturing into crystalline silicon photovoltaic manufacturing.
The company does have a subsidiary that makes photovoltaics. Apollo, Ltd, which manufactures thin-film amorphous silicon photovoltaics, said spokesperson Ellen Pressley. It’s a small producer in China and is separate from its materials business.
If someone wanted to make a crystalline silicon photovoltaic panel exclusively with DuPont materials, they couldn’t, according to Cockerill.
“There certainly would be some additional pieces,” he said. For instance, they’d likely have to use glass from a third party.
However, a full 70 percent of photovoltaic modules on the market contains DuPont products, Cockerill said.
“DuPont is the largest supplier to the solar market,” he said.
The company’s solar materials added $1 billion in revenue to DuPont’s earnings in 2010.
“We have a goal of doubling that in 2014,” he said.
Pictured: Innovalight founder Conrad Burke, courtesy of DuPont.