One of the materials needed to manufacture solar photovoltaic panels is a film for the backsheets. DuPont produces a polyvinyl fluoride polymer resin that is extruded into the company’s Tedlar film that according to the company helps to provide long-term durability and enhance the performance of photovoltaic modules. As reported by Renewable Energy World in January, 2010, DuPont is investing $175 million to expand its Tedlar production lines, in addition to the $120 million in capacity expansions the company announced in August, 2009.
The U.S. Department of Energy reports that DuPont has received a $50.7 million Advanced Energy Manufacturing Credit through the Recovery Act, along with state incentives, to retrofit unused factory facilities in Circleville, Ohio in order to produce its Tedlar film. Lisa Patt-McDaniel, Director of the Ohio Department of Development is quoted in the report as indicating that DuPont’s investment will create about 230 construction jobs in Circleville, and when the factory is completed in September 2011, 70 full-time factory jobs. McDaniel also points out that the investment is helping to make Ohio a global leader in solar energy technology.
Trish Bennett reported for the Circleville Herald in September 2010 that the DuPont plant expansion has drawn national attention for being ranked number 16 on the list of the 100 Recovery Act Projects that are Changing America released by Vice President Joe Biden’s office. Bennett’s article quotes Nate Green, director of the Pickaway Progress Partnership, as indicating that this ranking may lead other businesses to look at Pickaway County as a prime location for future manufacturing sites. In addition to the federal tax credit DuPont received $6 million in state incentives and Pickaway County received a $3.5 million Job-Ready Sites Grant through the Ohio Department of Development to improve the infrastructure at the plant.
Ohio Governor Ted Strickland explained that two years earlier DuPont officials had indicated that they couldn’t justify expansion or new investments in Ohio due to the cost of electricity and concerns about reliability. But those concerns were overcome with Ohio’s energy reform bill signed in 2008. The bill improves the ability to control electricity prices and the Advanced Energy Portfolio Standard calls for utilities to supply 25 percent of their sales from advanced energy sources by 2025, helping to create demand for clean energy and thereby drive the demand for solar photovoltaic materials.
In addition to its expansion in Circleville, Ohio, DuPont announced in a press release in August 2010 that production of the Tedlar film had begun at the company’s facilities in Fayetteville, North Carolina. DuPont indicates that it expects the demand for photovoltaic modules to grow rapidly over the next few years. Its capacity expansion will enable the company to provide the Tedlar and other materials that increase the efficiency of solar cells and allow solar panels to deliver power reliably for over 25 years.
DuPont Boosts Tedlar® Production for Surging Solar Energy Market – PR Web
DuPont Completes US $295M Solar Expansion – Renewable Energy World
Ohio Highlights $175 Million DuPont Expansion In Circleville – Governor of Ohio
Trish Bennett, “DuPont project gets national attention” – Circleville Herald
VP100: Growth in solar means growth in Ohio – Energy Empowers