DuPont Completes $295 Million Expansion for Photovoltaic Market

January 18, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

DuPont announced an investment of $175 million to complete the multi-phase expansion of its high-performance DuPont™ Tedlar® PV2001 series oriented film production line. This investment is in addition to $120 million in capacity expansions, announced in August 2009, for raw materials used to make the film, bringing the total commitment of these two phases to $295 million. Tedlar® films serve as the critical component of photovoltaic backsheets, providing long-term durability and performance for photovoltaic modules in all-weather conditions.

The film line expansion will be located at the DuPont Circleville, Ohio, facility using existing and retrofitted assets. This expansion provides Tedlar oriented film capacity to support global demand of over 10 GW of photovoltaic module production. Film production is scheduled to start up in September 2011.

"The photovoltaic market increasingly demands materials that enable modules to reliably deliver power for decades," said David B. Miller, President – DuPont Electronics & Communications. "This major expansion underscores our commitment to maintaining DuPont leadership in the photovoltaic industry and specifically in the backsheet materials market for solar panels."

The manufacturing steps for Tedlar oriented film include producing vinyl fluoride (VF) monomer, which is converted into polyvinyl fluoride (PVF) polymer resins, and extruded into the Tedlar film. DuPont plans to increase monomer and polymer resin capacity by more than 50%. Construction is under way for these new monomer and resin facilities at the DuPont Louisville, Kyntucky., and Fayetteville, North Carolina, sites, respectively, and the facilities are scheduled to start up in mid-2010.

DuPont anticipates that the photovoltaic market will grow rapidly over the next several years, and this growth will drive the demand for Tedlar and other new materials that increase the lifetime and efficiency of solar cells and modules. DuPont expects that overall sales of its family of products into the photovoltaic industry will exceed $1 billion by 2012.

DuPont states that its Tedlar PVF films have been an essential component of photovoltaic backsheets for more than 25 years. Tedlar is said to be widely recognized as the industry standard due to its excellent strength, weather resistance, ultraviolet resistance and moisture barrier properties. As a result, Tedlar enables solar modules to achieve long-life performance providing a long-term sustainable energy source for the marketplace. This results in improved economic returns for investments in solar energy projects and therefore a lower cost of solar electricity to consumers. Tedlar films also are used in key applications for aerospace, construction and graphics arts because of their durability and weatherability.