Bringing Jobs And Solar Energy To The Southern Tier

By Brandi Devine

May 3, 2012 Updated May 3, 2012 at 6:53 PM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Binghamton University is on the cutting edge of solar energy innovations.

Having the proper working environment is one of the first steps.

Binghamton University opened its doors to two new laboratories for the Center for Autonomous Solar Powers or CASP.

CASP is the national research and developer of new thin solar cells.

The new labs will focus on advancing solar energy, by making it small in size and price.

"If you tried to install solar energy on your home, although the prices have dropped significantly, you still need significant federal and state rebates. The cost is somewhere around 3 dollars a watt," says BU Professor, Charles R. Westgate.

That translates to a range of about $30,000.

How will they make it cheaper?

"We're using very inexpensive materials that can be found anywhere in the earth's crust," says Westgate.

Metals like Zinc, Iron, Sulfur, Phosphorus, and Copper.

CASP received $8.5 million in federal funding, money secured by Senator Charles Schumer and U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey to enhance technology and jobs in New York.

"If we are the leader in the new generation of solar cells, we will employ people here instead of China," says Senator Charles Schumer.

Five or six solar cells or chips will have the ability to cover costs for residential water.

BU is working with local industries like Endicott Interconnect, making solar cells stronger.

"No one will find a solution without going to thin film economic abundant materials," says Westgate.

Local state and university leaders say this initiative will bring more jobs and technology to Southern Tier, as opposed to hiring out of the country and shipping in materials.

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