A DuPont leader emphasized the critical role of innovation in advancing solar energy, as well as the growing need for intellectual property protection in the photovoltaic market, during the recent Solarbuzz China Photovoltaics Conference in Shanghai.
“In the solar industry today, cost pressures are intensifying throughout the value chain, and companies are looking harder than ever to gain competitive advantage,” said Walt Cheng, DuPont Electronics & Communications Managing Director for Greater China. “Technological innovation remains the lifeblood of this industry and the key means of achieving a lower levelized cost of energy. Intellectual Property (IP) theft is widespread and the issue seems to be growing in the current climate of this industry. IP theft diminishes competition and reduces innovation. If there is no longer an incentive for companies to deliver new innovations, the progress we’ve made together to accelerate the growth of solar energy can stall.”
DuPont has succeeded as the leading materials supplier to the photovoltaic industry with innovations including DuPont™ Solamet® photovoltaic metallizations that have almost doubled the efficiency of solar modules over the last dozen years. DuPont spent $2 billion last year on R&D, a significant portion of which is focused on reducing global dependence on fossil fuels through advanced materials and technologies that improve the efficiency, lifetime and cost-competitiveness of solar energy.
“As DuPont continues to develop new technology, we need to ensure it is protected,” said Cheng. “We do not ignore infringement and will pursue aggressively other points in the photovoltaic supply chain where IP infringement of our photovoltaic metallization pastes exists.”
Cheng said this continues in the manner of previous DuPont actions involving IP protection in China and other countries in the world. The company recently filed two lawsuits against photovoltaic metallization paste supplier Heraeus and one against its customer SolarWorld, for infringing on DuPont patents for DuPont™ Solamet® photovoltaic metallization pastes.
Cheng encouraged increased support from the industry to guard against infringement and stronger opposition to the use of “infringing” materials in the production and sale of downstream products by cell and module makers, photovoltaic system developers, installers and owners
“We have reached a point where we have to re-level the playing field,” Cheng said. “In a market that is fair, free and legal, we relish the opportunity to compete with the best technology providers to help solar succeed, and we look forward to your support in this critical endeavor.”