BRISTOL, United Kingdom, April 21, 2010 – Her Majesty the Queen, head of state of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, has awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category to DuPont for the continuous development of DuPont Solamet photovoltaic metallization paste, a key component in increasing the energy efficiency of solar cells. The company has advanced the technology over a number of years — contributing to increasing the effectiveness of photovoltaic solar cell technology.
“Addressing energy needs is a global concern. The generation of renewable energy will be the fastest growing sector in the energy market for the next 20 years, and materials for photovoltaic applications are a critical success factor for sustainable growth,” said Ian Hudson, president – DuPont Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We can apply the power of our market-driven science to offer products and technologies that can transform the sun’s potential into clean energy, contributing to decreasing dependence on fossil fuels.”
The advances made by DuPont in the field of front- and back-side metallization contacts have resulted in significant efficiency gains for solar cell technology. In 1998, the efficiency of a crystalline silicon (c Si) solar cell was approximately 10 percent. Today, these cells operate at close to 16 percent for multi-crystalline wafers, and at greater than 18 percent for monocrystalline wafers; a rise in efficiency that is partly due to the performance offered by the metallizations DuPont has developed. The fundamental qualities that Solamet brings to the market are the excellent low contact resistance formed with the silicon on firing and its fine line, high aspect ratio print resolution. These are essential to minimize series resistance and electrical losses, leading to a more efficient device.
The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is the United Kingdom’s most prestigious award for business performance. The awards recognize and reward outstanding achievement by U.K. companies. They are presented in three separate categories: International Trade, Innovation and Sustainable Development. The awards are made each year by the queen, on the advice of the prime minister, who is assisted by an advisory committee that includes representatives of government, industry and commerce, and the trade unions.
DuPont is honored to receive this prestigious award that recognizes the company’s innovations to advance efficient and reliable generation of solar energy,” said Craig Oliver, director, Europe, Middle East and Africa – DuPont Microcircuit Materials. “Sustainable growth of the photovoltaic industry depends on technological advances continuing to improve the efficiency of photovoltaic devices, and ultimately reducing the cost per watt of solar power.”
DuPont Microcircuit Materials plays a key role in enabling growth in the solar energy market by sustained technological advancement. The Solamet product range is the market leader for metallizations for c Si solar cells and has been instrumental in the great gains in efficiency of solar power, making it more competitive with other means of electricity generation.
DuPont materials have been at the forefront of photovoltaic innovation for more than 25 years, setting standards around the world through materials that provide unmatched quality and reliability to photovoltaic modules. DuPont anticipates that the photovoltaic market will grow approximately 30 percent in 2010 and will continue to grow rapidly over the next three years. DuPont sales in photovoltaics exceeded $500 million in 2009. Given the innovation that DuPont brings to the photovoltaic market, company sales have been growing above market rates, with growth expected in the coming years.
DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.