The 200 kW capacity project, largest such commercial installation in Alabama to date, provides clean, renewable electricity to the Tennessee Valley Authority power grid. This installation is part of an upgrade to Dakin America’s facility in Decatur. It includes capacity expansion of several fluorochemical product lines as well as generation of solar energy using Daikin products to cover the top and back of the modules. Lightweight, transparent ETFE films used on top of flexible or rigid solar modules have higher light transmittance than glass while providing long-term weather protection. Daikin’s ZEFFLE™ fluorocoatings excel at providing similar protection for the backs of rigid solar modules. These photovoltaic topsheets and backsheets play a critical role in the performance of solar panels over their lifetime.
Three days of celebration in May included a ribbon cutting for Daikin’s expanded chemical plant as well as start up of the solar energy installation and Daikin’s annual festival welcoming the local community. Robert Bentley, Governor of Alabama, participated in the event along with other dignitaries.
The Decatur solar, or photovoltaic, project was made possible through incentives from the U.S. “1603 Treasury” program, which paid for 30% of the project, and the
Tennessee Valley Authority’s “Generation Partner” program. Daikin’s solar energy
project has the annual capacity of producing more than 250,000 kWh of clean electricity, the equivalent of saving up to 20,000 gallons of gasoline and reducing CO2 emission by 200 metric tons, every year.
An American Enterprise
Daikin America’s main partners in this venture are all Tennessee Valley business entities. Suniva, Inc. headquartered in Norcross, Georgia, supplied the majority of the PV modules. These high power-density Optimus modules from Suniva incorporate high performing fluoro-coated PV backsheets using Daikin products as part of a combination of materials. System integration was provided by First Century Energy Holdings, Inc., also of Georgia. TVA, the energy supplier to the entire area and its distributor, Decatur Utilities, will buy the electricity generated by the solar installation at a premium. “Renewable energy is an important component of TVA’s plan for a broader, more balanced energy generation mix for clean, low cost, energy in the future” said Patty West, TVA’s Director of Renewable Energy Programs. “We are happy to see the solar generation at Daikin’s Decatur facility contributing to a cleaner energy future as well.” The result: green energy, growing businesses and more jobs for the region.
Daikin’s ZEFFLE™ fluorocoatings and ETFE films are used in a variety of crystalline-silicon and thin-film PV modules in both rigid and flexible configurations. Topsheets and backsheets made with these high-performance fluoropolymers are used by PV modules manufacturers in the U.S., China, Europe, Japan and India.
Looking to Tomorrow
Daikin is the world’s leading producer of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, a pioneer in cooling efficiency. In the U.S., Daikin America is one of the largest producers of fluoropolymers. The combination of this expertise with renewable energy generation is part of Daikin’s strategy to achieve nearly-Zero-Energy Buildings (nZEB) in the foreseeable future.