Go Green: Canal Landing solar research facility

By MARK GRUBA | mgruba@wroctv.com

Published 10/25 2013 10:40AM

Updated 10/25 2013 10:50AM

Solar power helps companies and homeowners reduce energy consumption and now a new research facility in Rochester is aimed at helping get solar products to the market faster.

A former Kodak inkjet production building in Rochester's Canal Landing is being converted into a cutting edge solar power research facility.  It's set to open later this fall.  State Senator Ted O'Brien, a Democrat representing New York's 55th District, is among its champions.  "This is exactly what we need to be doing to position ourselves to take advantage of this kind of energy innovation economy," he said.

The vision for the facility is for the research to lead to technological advancements that will speed up solar manufacturing.  "What this facility is going to help upstart companies in the solar industry do is reduce the time to get a product to market, reduce the cost of getting a product to market and reduce the risks associated with that," said O'Brien.

Currently it costs about $5 to produce a watt of solar energy.  The goal is to get that figure down to $1.  As the solar research facility flourishes, the hope is to create a ripple effect for other businesses in the green industry.  "As we are successful in dropping the cost of electrical production by solar technologies, that is going to spur the solar installation business," said O'Brien.

Ultimately, it's a $100 million investment in Rochester's green future - $65 million in private funds, $30 million in federal funds and $5 million from the state.  "The real hope here is that we drive down the cost of solar energy," said O'Brien.

In effect, it's going green by saving some green.

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