State University in New York (SUNY) is to open a new solar manufacturing and technology development centre for crystalline silicon photovoltaics, using a former Kodak building near Rochester in New York.

The centre will be part of SUNY’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) and is expected to create 100 new jobs.

Approved in April and set to open later this year, renovations are underway to transform Kodak’s 57,000 square-foot former Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) building, built in 2001 and closed last October.

The first part of the US$100 million initiative project is relocating over US$19 million of  tools acquired by the US Department of Energy as part of its SunShot initiative from California’s Silicon Valley to New York. The tools come from SVTC, a Silicon Valley-based solar energy company, and will form an integral part of the new centre.

DOE is providing nearly US$11 million in cash funding to support procurement and installation, with investment from private industry partners predicted at more than US$65 million to support development and operations of the new centre.

New York State will invest US$4.8 million through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

CNSE senior vice president and CEO Alain Kaloyeros said: “This announcement bolsters New York’s recognition as a national leader in the commercialisation and deployment of critical clean energy technologies, including solar, which are providing significant benefits to our energy, environmental and economic future.”

New York State governor Andrew Cuomo said: “Ultimately, this means growing our clean energy economy, improving our environment and creating green jobs for New Yorkers here in Rochester and across the state.”

CNSE is a research enterprise specialising in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology, with US$14 billion in technology investments and 300 corporate partners.

The new centre will also work with the US Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium (PVMC), based at CNSE, as part of the DOE’s SunShot Initiative. The PVMC is currently aiming to reduce the cost of installed solar energy systems from US$5 per watt to less than US$1 per watt, over the next 10 years.