DuPont a player in growth of region's solar industry


DuPont is among the companies riding the wave of solar panel installations across the country.

The company, which has a plant in Cumberland County, saw revenues for sales related to solar panels top $1 billion in 2010, a year ahead of its original projections. Last year, sales were nearly $1.4 billion.

DuPont makes a material called Tedlar, a polyvinyl fluoride film used in the protective sheet on the back of most solar panels because of its durability and weather resistance.

DuPont expects a 20 percent average annual growth in installations over the next five years as the technology becomes more cost-competitive, according to John Odom, the company's global business director of photovoltaic materials.

That's good news here, where the company's 900-employee plant on the Cumberland-Bladen County line produces one of the raw materials for Tedlar.

DuPont does not reveal employment numbers related to any product, Odom said, but Tedlar production "makes up a significant portion of the jobs at the Fayetteville Works facility."

Odom said the company has invested $295 million in recent years to double its Tedlar-making capacity, including increasing production at the Fayetteville plant.

- John Ramsey