Solutia Inc. (NYSE: SOA) announced the opening of its new Vistasolar® ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) manufacturing center in Suzhou, China.

The new facility recently passed major testing milestones and is now ready to supply commercial-grade Vistasolar EVA encapsulant for use in solar modules. This announcement marks the latest in a series of investments Solutia has made to help solar module manufacturers lower the total cost of production and help make solar energy competitive with traditional sources of energy.

Solutia is the market leader for EVA films in Europe and the first global supplier to build an EVA manufacturing center in China. Chinese solar module manufacturers currently produce more than half of all modules installed globally, and this new manufacturing center will strengthen Solutia’s position to reliably supply high-quality solar encapsulants to the Chinese photovoltaic market. Solutia also produces encapsulants in Germany, Belgium, the United States, Mexico and Brazil.  

"The industry requires reductions in cost per watt for solar energy," said Christopher Reed, Solutia photovoltaic business director. "By investing directly into China, our ability to reduce the total cost of production and enhance our service levels to Chinese module manufacturers is greatly improved."

This is Solutia’s first new EVA production facility to be developed after the acquisition of Etimex Solar GmbH of Germany.  The facility is based at the company’s Suzhou, China manufacturing center, which also produces Saflex® polyvinyl butyral (PVB) films. Solutia continues to be the only manufacturer of all major photovoltaic module encapsulant technologies, including EVA, PVB and thermal polyurethane (TPU).

"Vistasolar has been a pioneer in EVA encapsulants since 1980. We intend to build on our market-leading position in Europe based on proven, high-quality formulations and finished product," said Tim Wessel, president and general manager of Solutia’s Advanced Interlayers division. "Vistasolar EVA is the most recognized and trusted name for encapsulants in the world’s largest solar market. This enhances the bankability of the solar module."

With more than 100 years of combined encapsulation process expertise, manufacturing scale and scalability, and a track record of rapid innovation, Solutia is uniquely positioned to provide complete solutions to the world’s leading solar module manufacturers.