Former Kodak Facility to Become Solar Research Center

5:34 PM, Jul 17, 2013   |    comments
Kodak headquarters at night. / ANNETTE LEIN / Democrat and Chronicle Staff photographer
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By Jon Campbell,  Albany Bureau

ALBANY State officials on Wednesday will formally announce a plan to transform a former Eastman Kodak Co. building near Rochester into a $100 million solar-energy research and manufacturing center as part of SUNY's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

The CNSE Photovoltaic Manufacturing and Technology Development Facility is expected to create more than 100 jobs, according to a news release obtained by Gannett's Albany bureau. The project had already been confirmed by federal officials in April, and renovations are underway.

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy is slated to tout the project at 11 a.m. at the former Kodak building, which was previously home to an inkjet facility in Greece, Monroe County, before it was vacated by the company in October.

"This project to transform a vacant Kodak building into a first-ever solar manufacturing and technology development facility sets a precedent for further investment in this green industry in New York State," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

The new facility is expected to open in late fall and will include a 20,000-square-foot cleanroom. More than $19 million in equipment is being transferred to Rochester from SVTC, a California-based solar company, according to the state.

The state Energy Research and Development Authority is putting up $4.8 million for the project, according to the news release, with $11 million coming from the federal Department of Energy and $65 million expected to come from private companies who will partner in the research center.

The SUNY nanocollege had acquired the Kodak building earlier this year, and top officials had hinted at their plans for expansion for months. The U.S. Department of Energy had confirmed the plans for a solar facility in April.

The college received a preliminary approval from the SUNY Board of Trustees on Tuesday to formally split from the University of Albany, where it's been housed since its inception.

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