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UAlbany NanoCollege Launches Solar Energy Development Center to Accelerate Commercialization of Innovative Photovoltaics Technologies

Congresssman Chris Gibson, left, joined by CNSE V.P. for Clean Energy Programs Pradeep Haldar, NYSERDA Director of Clean Energy Research and Market Development Janet Joseph, and CNSE Senior V.P. and CEO Alain Kaloyeros. (Photo Mia Ertas, CNSE)

Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-20) was joined by UAlbany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) Senior Vice President and CEO Dr. Alain Kaloyeros to announce the launch of CNSE's Solar Energy Development Center in Halfmoon, New York, an integral component of the CNSE green energy initiative that will retain 17 green collar jobs, create opportunities to grow the high-tech workforce, and further expand CNSE's growing portfolio of clean energy research, development and commercialization.

CNSE is now managing and operating the former Veeco facility at 13 Corporate Drive, which features a state-of-the-art, 100 kilowatt prototyping and demonstration line for next-generation copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) thin film solar cells. With the ability to be manufactured at lower cost on both glass and flexible substrates, while significantly improving energy efficiency and reducing the cost of installation to less than $1 per watt, CIGS-based cells offer great promise to dominate the market for building integrated materials, including commercial and residential rooftops, among applications ranging from solar farms to portable devices.

UAlbany CNSE Solar Center announcement
Congressman Chris Gibson, second from right, stands with UAlbany CNSE CEO Alain Kaloyeros and other representatives at the opening of the Solar Energy Development Center in Halfmoon, N.Y.

The CNSE Halfmoon facility will provide a pilot line for proof-of-concept prototyping, offering critical opportunities to demonstrate emerging concepts in CIGS manufacturing, such as evaluations of innovative materials and novel processes. Preliminary performance data can be obtained prior to engaging a full-scale manufacturing line, allowing for the acceleration of emerging concepts in CIGS cell manufacturing at a lower cost and with reduced risk.

Congressman Gibson said, "Today's announcement continues our region's growth as the next place for 21st Century technology. This facility will preserve existing jobs and ensure that our area remains at the forefront of research into clean energy technologies that are so vital for our future. I applaud CNSE's efforts to invest in our local communities and look forward to continuing to work with them to expand public-private partnerships here in Tech Valley."

Dr. Kaloyeros said, "With the launch of CNSE's state-of-the-art Solar Energy Development Center in Halfmoon, New York, the UAlbany NanoCollege is delighted to further expand our growing portfolio of research, development and commercialization activities to support and enable innovative clean energy technologies. With the recognized leadership and critical guidance of Congressman Chris Gibson, and the overarching vision and proactive support of Senator Charles Schumer, we look forward to addressing the vital national need to accelerate the use of green sources of energy, including solar power, while generating new opportunities to expand our high-tech, ‘green collar’ workforce and leave a cleaner environment for our next generation."

Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA, said, "The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering's Solar Energy Development Center is another example of how the Capital Region continues to support New York's cleantech economy. This center will retain a high-tech workforce in the region, and offer research and development into the next-generation of CIGS solar cells that have the capability of producing greater energy efficiency for the solar industry."

The advanced work done at CNSE’s Solar Energy Development Center will also support the U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium, a more than $300 million public-private collaboration headquartered at CNSE. Created as part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) SunShot Initiative, the PVMC is a partnership between CNSE and SEMATECH that will engage more than 40 companies and organizations from throughout the solar community to work cooperatively to increase the performance of CIGS solar cells while driving down the cost and risk of bringing them to the marketplace.

CNSE Vice President for Clean Energy Programs Dr. Pradeep Haldar said, “The important effort to commercialize, manufacture and bring to market advanced CIGS solar cell technologies will receive a shot in the arm with opening of CNSE’s Solar Energy Development Center. The presence of a pilot line for prototyping and proof-of-concept demonstration will enable CNSE to accelerate its innovative work in advancing next-generation solar technologies, while also supporting the essential mission of the U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium.”

Saratoga County Economic Development Corporation President Dennis Brobston said, "We are excited to have CNSE take over the management and operation of the former Veeco facility and retain 17 green collar jobs here in Halfmoon, Saratoga County. CNSE's involvement in this project will not only save 17 good paying jobs; we will have the best and brightest minds from around the world working collaboratively to make solar manufacturing cheaper, more efficient and less risky. We look forward to partnering with CNSE and Saratoga County is prepared to site leading edge manufacturers that will want to be close to this groundbreaking research and development."

The opening of its Solar Energy Development Center further expands CNSE's growing presence across upstate New York. The world’s most advanced university-driven research enterprise with more than $12 billion in high-tech investments, CNSE's footprint also includes its world-class Albany NanoTech Complex, an 800,000-square-foot megaplex currently being expanded by more than 50 percent; the Smart System Technology and Commercialization Center of Excellence (STC) in Rochester, which offers state-of-the-art capabilities for MEMS fabrication and packaging; the Computer Chip Commercialization Center at SUNYIT in Utica, which CNSE co-founded and manages; and the Nanotechnology Innovation and Commercialization Excelerator in Syracuse, which CNSE co-founded.

CNSE is the first college in the world dedicated to education, research, development, and deployment in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanobioscience, and nanoeconomics. With more than $12 billion in high-tech investments, CNSE's represents the world's most advanced university-driven research enterprise, offering students a one-of-kind academic experience and providing over 300 corporate partners with access to an unmatched ecosystem for leading-edge R&D and commercialization of nanoelectronics and nanotechnology innovations.

CNSE's footprint spans upstate New York, including its Albany NanoTech complex, an 800,000-square-foot megaplex awith the only fully-integrated, 300mm wafer, computer chip pilot prototyping and demonstration line within 850,000 square feet of Class 1 capable cleanrooms.

More than 2,600 scientists, researchers, engineers, students, and faculty work on site, from companies including IBM, IntelGlobalFoundries, SEMATECH, Samsung, TSMCToshiba, Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron, ASML, and  Novellus Systems. An expansion now underway, part of which will house the world's first Global 450mm Consortium, will add nearly 500,000 square feet of next-generation infrastructure, an additional 50,000 square feet of Class 1 capable cleanrooms, and more than 1,000 scientists, researchers and engineers from CNSE and global corporations. In addition, CNSE's Solar Energy Development Center in Halfmoon provides a prototyping and demonstration line for next-generation CIGS thin-film solar cells. CNSE's Smart Systems Technology and Commercialization Center of Excellence (STC) in Rochester offers state-of-the-art capabilities for MEMS fabrication and packaging. CNSE also co-founded and manages operations at the Computer Chip Commercialization Center at SUNYIT in Utica and is a co-founder of the Nanotechnology Innovation and Commercialization Excelerator in Syracuse.

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