DuPont ‘future-proofs’ with acquisition of silicon ink innovator

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Silicon ink innovator Innovalight has been acquired by DuPont. The acquisition would ‘expedite’ the adoption of both silicon ink and selective emitter solar cells with higher efficiencies by c-Si PV manufacturers, DuPont said in a statement. Innovalight has already garnered some Tier 1 PV manufacturers as customers, including JA Solar, Yingli Green and Hanwha SolarOne. DuPont is a major supplier of metallization pastes under its ‘Solamet’ brand. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal was said to be synergistic and a win-win situation. Speaking with PV-Tech, Conrad Burke, founder of Innovalight, noted that the Sunnyvale, California-based materials developer would continue to manufacture the silicon inks at its existing facility, while future R&D activities would be a concentrated ‘team-up’ with DuPont scientists and engineers.

The close cooperation between the two firms that is expected to deliver enhanced selective emitter materials and processes has already meant new job titles being issued. Burke becomes general manager, DuPont Innovalight, and DuPont’s Rob Cockerill becomes business manager, DuPont Innovalight.

Burke said that customers have already applauded the DuPont acquisition, since it provides future security of long-term development by the company becoming part of a larger, well-known materials supplier to the PV industry. 

According to industry estimates, selective emitter technology could represent 13% of c-Si solar cell production by 2013 and could reach 38% by 2020.

“This is very complementary to future Solamet technologies,” noted Cockerill talking to PV-Tech.

Burke also noted that the acquisition should lead to greater efficiencies and future innovations could happen on a faster track. Not only will future Innovalight products have quicker time-to-market, they will  also be in step with new products from DuPont.

“Innovalight has very exciting technology that improves cell efficiency and DuPont can help expedite its adoption,” said David B. Miller, president – DuPont Electronics & Communications. “DuPont and Innovalight share a commitment to innovation in materials that have a common purpose – to make solar energy more efficient and more affordable.”

Update

Harris & Harris Group, a publicly traded venture capital company that was an early investor in Innovalight said that its investment position in the silicon ink supplier stood at US$3,920,428 as of March 31, 2011.

With the acquisition of Innovalight by DuPont for an undisclosed sum, Harris & Harris, expects to receive up to approximately US$5.4 million in the transaction.
 

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