Dupont Buys Solar Innovator Innovalight

DuPont has acquired California-based Innovalight, Inc., a solar technology company that graduated out of the Department of Energy’s PV Incubator program and has since signed major agreements with overseas solar manufacturers.

Innovalight invented silicon ink, a liquid form of silicon, and an ink-jet approach to "printing" solar cells. 

The innovation dramatically improves the performance of solar cells and can boost profits for manufacturers by 20%, according to DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).

Innovalight’s silicon ink is a so-called selective emitter technology, which allows solar cells to capture a broader spectrum of sunlight for conversion into electricity.

According to industry estimates, selective emitter technology could represent 13% of crystalline silicon solar cell production by 2013 and up to 38% by 2020.

Five of the world’s largest solar cell producers have signed licenses to use Innovalight’s silicon ink in their production lines, including Taiwan’s Motech Industries, Inc., (6244.TWO), JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. (NYSE: JKS), Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE) and JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. (Nasdaq:JASO).

The acquisition strengthens DuPont’s position in solar production materials. DuPont exceeded $1 billion in revenue from solar PV sales in 2010, and has set a goal to reach $2 billion by 2014.

Over the last two years, DuPont has expanded production of backsheets used in solar panel production. They also make encapsulants and metalization pastes used to make solar panels and cells.

Innovalight’s venture investors include EDB Investments (EDBI) of Singapore and Vertex Venture Holdings, the venture subsidiary of Temasek Holdings, Singapore; as well as Apax Partners, ARCH Venture Partners, Convexa Capital, Harris & Harris Group, Sevin Rosen Funds and Triton Ventures.

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