RALEIGH, N.C. — DuPont will build a new plant costing $50 million as part of its Fayetteville Works campus in Bladen County near the Cumberland County line.

The facility will produce components for solar energy panels.

Some 15 new jobs will be created, according to an announcement from Governor Mike Easley’s office.

DuPont received a $50,000 One North Carolina Fund grant as part of an incentive package. Such grants require a local match from government and/or private organizations.

The plant is expected to come online in 2007. It will produce polymers used as protective backsheets in solar panels, which convert light into electric power.

“We are excited about this new product and these new manufacturing jobs for the Fayetteville region,” said Barry Hudson, the DuPont Fayetteville Works plant manager. “DuPont estimates the Tedlar films market is growing at more than 30 percent per year, due to the surge in installation of photovoltaic solar panels around the world.”

DuPont is the top manufacturer of materials for use in solar panels. The global market for solar panels is $11 billion a year, according to The News Journal of Wilmington, DE.

The Fayetteville expansion is part of a $100 million investment being made by DuPont that includes expansion of facilities in Louisville, KY and Buffalo, N.Y.

“DuPont and Tedlar have played key roles in the solar energy industry,” said Cynthia Green, vice president and general manager for DuPont Fluoroproducts, in a statement. “This expansion will allow us to better supply customers in several global market segments as we focus more of our science and innovation on improving the life cycle of solar cells and reducing the cost per watt of electricity to consumers and building owners.”

The new jobs are expected to average $874 a week in wages plus benefits.

DuPont already employs some 900 people in North Carolina.

Also participating in the industrial recruitment process were the N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Community College System, Bladen County and Progress Energy.

DuPont: www.dupont.com