Aug 31, 2011 - Following the acquisition of solar technology company Innovalight Inc, US industrial conglomerate DuPont (NYSE:DD) is coming closer to reaching the targeted USD 2 billion (EUR 1.4bn) in sales generated into the PV market by 2014.
After booking PV-market sales of more than USD 1 billion in 2010, the US chemicals giant, which is already a major provider of specialty chemicals and components to PV panel manufacturers, has decided to further raise its PV materials and technology offerings to the solar power market via the acquisition of Innovalight. Dupont announced the takeover on July 25, without disclosing the purchase price.
Conrad Burke, founder of Innovalight, described the news about the acquisition as a wonderful outcome for all of Innovalight's shareholders, employees and customers.
Founded in 2002, Innovalight initially aimed to become a solar-cell producer. However, the company abandoned these plans when the financial market collapsed and demand for solar goods registered a significant decline at the end of 2008 and the first half of 2009. This was a period when start-ups were having a hard time saving money to continue their product development and launch production.
However, Innovalight seems to have found a successful solution in order to get out of the crisis. In time, marked by a strong decline in solar cell prices, the company managed to figure out a way to enhance the performance of solar cells, which was welcomed by solar-cell producers aiming to win customers in time of growing competition. Innovalight's potential was appreciated by the US Department of Energy, which funded the company’s research and development (R&D) by USD 3 million in 2009 and by another USD 3.4 million in March 2011. In addition, Innovalight's silicon ink technology was put on the annual top 100 list of innovations presented by R&D Magazine in June 2011.
Innovalight currently develops advanced silicon inks, which allow crystalline silicon solar cell manufacturers to boost output capacity, solar cell performance as well as to reduce costs. This makes Innovalight a perfect addition to the business of Dupont, which aims to strengthen its position as a leading producer of materials for the solar energy market. Innovalight has very exciting technology that improves cell efficiency and Dupont is able to help expedite its adoption, David Miller, head of Dupont Electronics & Communications, said.
According to a statement of Dupont's chief innovation officer (CIO) Tom Connelly from October 2010, the company spends on alternative energy development, or 15% of the amount it allocates for R&D.
Innovalight’s silicon ink can integrate relatively easily with a range of PV systems to boost efficiency, including Dupont's own Solamet PV metallization pastes. According to Dupont’s official internet site, Solamet PV metallizations offer a comprehensive system of thick film materials used in the construction of both crystalline silicon and thin film solar cells, which enables the construction of more advanced and efficient solar cells. Therefore, Innovalight’s silicon inks used in combination with Dupont Solamet PV metallization pastes are said to be able to further boost the amount of electricity produced from sunlight.
Apart from the inks, California-based Innovalight has a pipeline of solar devices, silicon technology and selective emitter technology. According to industry estimates, selective emitter technology may reach 13% of crystalline silicon solar cell production by 2013 and up to 38% by 2020.
However, through the acquisition of Innovalight, Dupont has not only acquired a new material offering, but has also won customers that have licensed Innovalight’s technology – such as Chinese solar energy firm Yingli Green Energy Holding Co Ltd (NYSE:YGE), Chinese photovoltaic (PV) equipment major JA Solar (NASDAQ:JASO, FRA:YI2) and Taiwanese solar cell maker Motech Industries (TPO:6244). In line with its partnership with those companies, Innovalight is examining possibilities for incorporating silicon ink into their production lines, but it is also selling its silicon ink as well.
(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.694)
Choose your newsletter by Renewables Now. Join for free!