One of the world’s largest manufacturing companies has formed a renewable-energy division to increase its presence in the growing solar and other alternative-energy markets and offset pressures on its other businesses.
While traditional businesses are being crippled by the economic downturn, the overall solar market is growing. 3M Chief Executive George W. Buckley said last September that the solar market is forecast to grow to $50 billion in 2012, from $20 billion in 2008. Solar “is really just a quite massive opportunity for 3M,” Buckley told investors.
3M, whose products range from Scotch tape and Post-It notes to furnace filters and power lines, already generates about US$200 million annually from its solar- related products, a figure that is growing 20% annually, Buckley said.
3M named Michael Roman, head of the company’s Asian Business Development, Optical Systems Division, to lead the new business. “3M’s new operation will serve the renewable energy market globally and bring the best products and technologies from a single source to customers worldwide,” said Roman.
The division includes two units. Energy Generation focuses on films, tapes, coatings, encapsulants, sealants and adhesives that help reduce the cost of renewable energy. Energy Management will concentrate on window film technology – including solar management, safety and security and decorative technology platforms sold to the automotive, commercial building and residential markets.