DuPont Expands Solar Presence with Innovalight Purchase

DuPont Expands Solar Presence with Innovalight Purchase

Solar panel image by jarnoslava V via Shutterstock

DuPont has stepped up its push into the burgeoning solar technology market, announcing that it has shelled out an undisclosed sum to acquire innovative U.S. solar start-up Innovalight Inc.

The chemicals giant is already a major player in the market for solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, providing a wide range of specialist chemicals and components to panel manufacturers.

According to DuPont, it generates annual revenues of more than $1 billion from sales to PV manufacturers and has set a target of topping $2 billion from solar-related revenues by 2014, a target the company said the acquisition of Innovalight would help it reach.

California-based Innovalight specializes in the production of silicon inks, which the company says can increase the efficiency of crystalline silicon solar cells by around 0.8 percent.

DuPont said Innovalight had also developed a range of process technologies and is working on a pipeline of anticipated products.

Significantly, it also said the company's silicon ink can integrate relatively easily with a range of photovoltaic systems to boost efficiency, including DuPont's own Solamet photovoltaic metallization pastes -- a combination the company said would enable the production of "superior selective emitter solar cells."

"Innovalight brings in-depth knowledge of solar devices, silicon technology and selective emitter technology, and DuPont adds expertise in materials science, manufacturing capabilities and global market access," said Conrad Burke, founder of Innovalight, in a statement.

"Our offerings are complementary to one another, and together we will broaden and accelerate our ability to meet customer needs and address today's energy challenges with our continued innovations."

The deal represents DuPont's second major foray into the cleantech sector in recent months. In May it completed a multibillion-dollar acquisition of Danish food and biotechnology company Danisco, largely designed to bolster the firm's presence in the fast-expanding biofuels market.

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