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New Federal Grant Will Make CNSE-SEMATECH National Center in Solar Cell Research

New Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium to Create Thousands of Jobs

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer on April 5 announces $57.5 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to boost U.S. photovoltaic manufacturing at UAlbany's College of Nanoscale Sciences & Engineering.

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 05, 2011) --

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced a major victory for a partnership between SEMATECH and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) at UAlbany, along with the University of Central Florida, as they secured a $57.5 million federal grant that will provide a major boost to the U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium (PVMC). For months, Schumer has pushed for approval of the SEMATECH-CNSE application to form a new photovoltaic manufacturing consortium with support from the Department of Energy’s Photovoltaic Manufacturing Initiative. With this federal funding, the partnership can massively increase the United States’ share of the photovoltaic technology and products market, and potentially create millions of jobs over the next decade.

“The future is very bright for solar energy research, development and jobs in Albany. With the awarding of this massive grant, the scientists and technicians at the College of Nanoscale Science at UAlbany will once again create the jobs of the future – today. This is absolutely outstanding news for the Capital Region, and I applaud Secretary Chu for his wise decision,” said Schumer. “The photovoltaic manufacturing consortium has unlimited potential when it comes to advancing our technological capabilities, increasing our competitiveness abroad, and most importantly – creating jobs for middle-class families in the Capital Region. Similar to the huge successes we’ve seen in the chip fab industry, I am sure this award will electrify our economy in Upstate New York, and make the Capital Region a hub for photovoltaic research and clean energy.”

CNSE Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Alain E. Kaloyeros said, “I want to commend and applaud our Senior Senator Chuck Schumer for his exceptional leadership and unwavering commitment as a champion for growing the nation’s clean energy economy. This investment by DOE, along with investments made by New York State, will infuse critical capital that, coupled with the pioneering model established by CNSE, will position New York and the U.S. as world leaders in 21st century photovoltaic technologies. In building on the public-private partnerships, world-class innovation and high-tech infrastructure that have made CNSE the world’s ‘go-to’ place for nanotechnology, we are poised now to drive the creation of high-paying green jobs and the attraction of corporate partners and investment, while reducing our nation’s carbon footprint for future generations.”

The U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium (PVMC) is a partnership between SEMATECH and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at UAlbany, as well as with the University of Central Florida. Over 80 companies, universities, and high tech laboratories have committed to join the alliance that will provide a major boost to the United States’ photovoltaic manufacturing industry. The consortium will help develop new photovoltaic manufacturing technologies, streamline their introduction into the global market, and help the United States gain a greater market share. Before this announcement, the consortium had financial commitments totaling $400 million from state and corporate entities. With this additional $57.5 million from the Department of Energy the consortium could hit the ground running with nearly half a billion dollars, providing an immediate boost to this critical manufacturing sector.

The College of Nanoscale Science at the University of Albany focuses on nanotechnology education, research and development, and technology deployment. It works with a variety of governmental and private enterprises to develop new technologies, and help these technologies enter the marketplace. The College was the first ever institution to issue a Ph.D. in nanoscience, and has a faculty of 48 instructing 184 students. The center hosts 2,500 employees on site and partners with 250 partner organizations across the globe.

Solar photovoltaic technologies convert solar energy into useful energy forms by directly absorbing solar photons and either converting part of the energy to electricity or storing part of the energy in a chemical reaction. Solar photovoltaic technologies produce clean power from domestic renewable energy, provide a source of reliable solar power, are more easily built than conventional power plants, and boost the national economy by creating new solar companies and jobs of the future.

Senator Schumer has been committed to fighting for the SEMATECH-CNSE application since the beginning. During visits to the CNSE at UAlbany complex, and through several letters written and phone calls made to Secretary Chu of the Department of Energy, Senator Schumer has described the partnership, and touted how it could massively increase the United States’ share of the photovoltaic technology and products market, potentially creating millions of jobs over the next decade. Schumer previously noted that progress hinges on the receipt of Department of Energy’s $57.5 million federal grant. Today, Schumer applauds Secretary Chu’s selection of the SEMATECH-CNSE application, and pledges any further support needed to allow this project massive success.

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