Solar innovator would adapt roll-to-roll photo film machinery to manufacture thin-film solar cells.
Red Bank, NJ — (February 8, 2011) — Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) has announced that negotiations are under way to bring a New Jersey solar technology company to Kodak’s Eastman Business Park, and with it the promise of more green jobs in Rochester.
Slaughter has been working with Natcore Technology Inc. (TSX-V: NXT; NTCXF.PK), whose technology would enable the manufacture of flexible solar cells that could reduce the cost of making solar panels and the time required to install solar arrays by more than 60%. Based in Red Bank, NJ, Natcore does not have a presence in upstate New York. But seeing that Eastman Business Park would be a perfect fit to meet Natcore’s research, development, and manufacturing needs, Slaughter has joined Kodak in trying to establish a future production facility and Natcore’s research lab in Rochester.
“I have been amazed by the solar technology being developed by Natcore because I see the potential it has to make solar energy more efficient and cleaner to produce,” said Slaughter. “In Rochester, we are all familiar with the technological expertise and manufacturing knowhow on the Kodak campus. If we can pair their capabilities with the emerging technology being developed by Natcore, we can bring the green jobs of tomorrow to Rochester. I see Natcore and Kodak to be an ideal fit and I’m happy to do everything I can to bring these companies together.”
On the heels of President Obama’s call in his State of the Union Address to grow U.S. innovation, Slaughter also personally called on the Obama Administration and the U.S. Energy Department to work with Natcore so that it can establish a Rochester manufacturing center. In previous expansion initiatives, Natcore has formed a joint venture with companies in China but Slaughter is encouraging them to manufacture their flexible solar cells in the U.S. so that the technology created in America is manufactured in America.
“We are deeply committed to keeping our technology in our own country,” says Natcore President and CEO Chuck Provini. “So far it’s been difficult to accomplish that. Now Congresswoman Slaughter has injected a burst of energy on our behalf with the White House, the DOE and Kodak. We are deeply grateful for her vision and persistence. Although typically our business plan has us licensing our technology rather than producing the cells ourselves, a joint venture with Kodak might be an exception. Their roll-to-roll photo film production equipment could be easily adapted for our flexible solar cell technology.” The details of a Kodak–Natcore undertaking are still to be worked out, according to Provini. At present, Natcore is neither manufacturing nor licensing its technology anywhere.
Kodak is a leader in chemical, thin film, and coating capabilities, all core competencies needed for the production of photovoltaic solar cells.
“No one knows more about manufacturing film products than Kodak,” said Mike Alt, Director of Eastman Business Park. “Kodak has developed thin film technology that is directly applicable to the next generation of photovoltaic panels. At Eastman Business Park, we have the technical resources, development and pilot tools, and the manufacturing capacity to accelerate the commercialization of new technologies, such as Natcore’s roll-to-roll solar cell process.”
Natcore may also establish an R&D lab at Eastman Business Park where it would accelerate its development of tandem solar cells using Natcore’s proprietary liquid phase technology. These super-efficient cells could yield twice the power output of today’s most efficient solar cells.
Due to Slaughter’s intervention, Department of Energy officials are meeting with Natcore to assess possible programs to help fund the development of a manufacturing operation at Eastman Business Park.
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