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DuPont To Hit $1 Billion in Solar Sales This Year

The chemical giant finds its solar cell products are selling faster and faster. How big could this industry get?

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Talk about an ambitious goal–DuPont has moved up its timeline to hit $1 billion in solar sales from 2011 to this year. And by 2014, the company expects to hit $2 billion. The predicted jump in sales is a result of the “continued explosive growth in the industry,” explained DuPont spokesman Dan Turner.

So what, exactly, is DuPont making its money from? DuPont sells at least 10 products used in the solar panel production process, including crystalline silicon cells and modules, thin film modules, and seals for cell manufacturing equipment. Two products–Tedlar, a moisture-protection backing for PV cells, and Solamet, a metallization paste used to improve the efficiency of silicon solar cells–have stood out as moneymakers for the chemical company.

As the largest U.S. chemical maker, DuPont also has the advantage of size; if there is a market for solar materials, the company has the resources to swallow it whole. And in fact, DuPont is taking a large piece of the market–in 2009, the market size for solar was approximately $30 billion. It is set to increase to at least $70 billion by 2013, according to Lux Research. By 2014, solar will become as efficient as conventional energy sources, and the market could grow even further.

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The chemical giant plans to be ready. “DuPont is uniquely positioned to bring
new, advanced technologies for future growth in traditional crystalline
silicon and emerging thin film photovoltaic segments. We also are
investing in greater production capability to help keep pace with the
fast rising global demand,” said David B. Miller, DuPont Electronics and Communications President.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more

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