DuPont, the leading U.S. chemical maker, and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., a top Chinese PV panel manufacturer, reached a $100 million deal this week with the goal of boosting supplies of solar-energy materials and promoting broader adoption of solar energy worldwide.
Under the contract, Yingli will acquire photovoltaic materials from DuPont, including its Solamet metallization pastes, which help enhance the efficiency of solar cells, and Tedlar polyvinyl fluoride film, used as a durable protective backsheet to block ultraviolet light and moisture in photovoltaic modules.
Earlier this month the Wilmington, Delaware-based chemicals conglomerate signed a similar strategic agreement with China's Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd., the world's largest producer of solar panels.
DuPont has been consolidating its businesses over the past two years to capitalize on growing markets for products that enhance energy security and protect the environment. Having long aggressively pursued the commercialization of advanced biofuels through acquisitions and research partnerships, the company is now targeting the solar industry.
Yingli, with an annual production capacity of 1.7 GW, is on pace to control 30% of the Chinese solar market this year. It exports its photovoltaic modules to the United States, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, France and South Korea.
Even as the U.S. solar industry continues to struggle, China is ramping up production of polysilicon, the primary raw material in solar cells, on speculation of growing demand. Meanwhile, austerity-minded governments across Europe are cutting once-generous solar subsidies in the face of record-high budget deficits and a political climate moving away from policies that critics say favor foreign manufacturers like Yingli.
Image credit: Yingli Green Energy Holding Co.
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