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DuPont’s Energy-Efficient Solar Panels Help Reduce GHG Emissions

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the amount of solar energy generated by the sun is more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use. Making solar energy more available and affordable can help drive greater adoption of this technology, both in the United States and globally.

Solar panels work by converting energy from the sun into electricity. Electrically conductive silver lines on the front face of the solar panels, made out of metallization pastes, create electrical contacts that allow photons, or particles of light from the sun, to knock electrons free from atoms, generating a flow of electricity.

Metallization pastes typically contain silver, glass particles and other ingredients that increase conductivity and reduce contact resistance. DuPont scientists invented Solamet® metallization pastes that replace silica with lead tellurium, a change that has helped make solar panels more energy efficient and cost effective.

More than 20 billion solar cells have been made using Solamet® pastes over the past 30 years, and DuPont continues to work to enable solar panels to produce more power, reliably and cost-effectively. Over the past 12 years, advances in Solamet® photovoltaic metallization pastes have helped to increase the power output of solar panels by around 30 percent – meaning more solar power with fewer panels and materials that take up less space.

The DuPont scientists behind the Solamet® technology received the 2018 “Heroes of Chemistry” award from the American Chemical Society for their contributions to the field. This annual award recognizes industrial chemical scientists whose work has led to the development of successful commercialized products ingrained with chemistry for the benefit of humankind.

Through ongoing investment in research, development and intellectual property, DuPont continues to focus on increasing solar cell efficiency, extending module lifetime and lowering overall system costs to help make solar energy more competitive with other sources of electricity.

About the author
American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $486 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is among the largest exporters in the nation, accounting for ten percent of all U.S. goods exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

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