DuPont has this month opened a photovoltaic (PV) technical center at its China global R&D Centre in Shanghai, to support material developments for the fast growing crystalline silicon PV market.

With the solar energy and PV production market continuing to gather pace, DuPont apparently expects to nearly triple its annual PV sales to more than $1bn in 2012.

The newly established facility contains three labs that focus on processes, including cell to module manufacturing, PV metallisation, and PV module and reliability testing. The new centre will provide integrated research, development and technical support for customers in the PV industry in China.

$quot;China is a key market for DuPont and will remain so, in spite of the global recession,$quot; said Douglas Muzyka, President of DuPont Greater China.

$quot;The centre will allow us to collaborate more closely with our customers in the PV industry, to provide technical support and to develop new materials technologies to meet the market needs. Through this partnership, we will be able to help create solar modules that run more efficiently, last longer and make solar energy a more viable alternative for everyone.$quot;

In 2008 the output of crystalline silicon PV cells and modules in China was about one third of the total volume in the world. In response to the rapid expansion of demand from the China market, the PV technical centre can conduct more systematic product evaluations, troubleshoot issues quicker and modify material properties for maximum performance.

The China R&D Centre is located in Zhangjiang High-tech Park, Pudong, Shanghai - one of China's national level technical parks dedicated to high-tech start-ups and research organisations. Total investment for the center to date is approximately $25m, while DuPont's 2008 net sales in greater China were aound $2.07bn.

The facility was designed to provide support for research, application development, training, technology transfer and licensing of DuPont technologies for China, Asia Pacific and global markets.