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November 6, 2017 - 5:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, news, notify, STAMP, business.

A spokesperson for the Department of Energy contacted The Batavian today to explain that the reason 1366 Technologies hasn't received its loan guarantee yet is that the company has yet to meet all the criteria of the original 2011 loan guarantee agreement.

On one hand, that appears to be true. The DOE says 1366 needs to secure $100 million in private investment. That hasn't happened yet. The second qualification, that 1366 has yet to select a site for its factory, is a matter of how the DOE interprets 1366's agreement with New York to build at the STAMP site in Alabama.

Asked about the seeming incongruity of 1366 announcing a site selection in 2015 and the DOE now claiming no site has been selected, the spokesperson said, "In a meeting with DOE officials last month, 1366 Technologies stated that it was considering three possible locations for their facility, of which one location is in New York."

Laureen Sanderson, speaking for 1366 Technologies, said 1366 is committed to building in Genesee County but the company also let the DOE know that if the loan guarantee wasn't approved, the company would have to initiate its contingency plans, which likely means building a plant in another country.

"Of course, we discussed contingency plans with DOE," Sanderson said. "That's par for the course when talking with a partner, but our focus remains on New York."

She added, "What’s important to recognize is that our commitment to New York remains. That's the site we selected in 2015. State and local officials have been wonderful. We’re doing everything we can to make that site a reality."

What both sides can agree on is that negotiations on the loan guarantee agreement are ongoing and active. Sanderson characterized the discussions as positive and productive.

"We have a shared goal with the Department of Energy to create U.S. manufacturing jobs," Sanderson said. "That's what we both want to do and that’s what we hope we can achieve together with the Department of Energy."

The spokeswoman confirmed there was a loan guarantee finalized in 2011 but said it was contingent on 1366 securing $100 million in equity financing and finalizing a location for its manufacturing plant.

Sanderson confirmed 1366 has so far raised only $89 million but emphasized again the company is committed to New York and creating U.S. manufacturing jobs.

The negotiations with the DOE are necessary, in part, because the solar industry has continued to evolve since 2011.

"A lot has changed in the solar industry but what hasn’t changed is the strength of the technology," Sanderson said.

The lag time between announcing the company's plans to build at the STAMP site and now, Sanderson said, has enabled the company to improve the energy efficiency of its solar wafers, working with partner Hanwha.

"The technology has only gotten better," Sanderson said. "Our technology not only improves the manufacturing process and reduces costs but every wafer we produce is a better product."

The proprietary technique development by 1366 at MIT's labs in the Boston area uses molten silicon to make a wafer, rather than the cutting and grinding process the solar industry has used for 40 years. This reduces waste and energy used to make wafers.

Right now, 1366 only has a demonstration production facility in Medford, but the company, working with Hanwha, has continued to improve efficiency by .08 percent annually, making 1366's wafers the most efficient in the industry, Sanderson said.

When the company can go into full production, it can continue to make efficiency gains as well as work with solar panel companies to find other uses for this new technology. The company will be able to make thinner wafers that are strong and more flexible. Current wafers are too brittle for thin, flexible uses.

"Because we are able to work at the melt level, we are able to introduce new features the industry has long wanted but can't achieve," Sanderson said. "There is only more innovation and discoveries to be had through the manufacturing process."

When 1366 announced its intention to build in Alabama, CEO Frank van Mierlo cited lower cost, clean hydropower from Niagara Falls as an attraction to the location. Sanderson added another reason 1366 wants to stay in the United States, if at all possible -- a superior silicon supply chain.

"Our technology is the first major change in the solar industry in more than 40 years," Sanderson said. "We solved a manufacturing challenge that the industry has wanted to solve for 40 years. There is a lot of technological strength in the U.S. supply chain and with that strength, the U.S. has a real chance to establish manufacturing leadership."

November 2, 2017 - 7:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, STAMP, Alabama, news, notify.

There continues to be one significant roadblock for 1366 Technologies to get around before breaking ground a new $700 million solar wafer manufacturing facility in Alabama -- getting the Department of Energy's final approval on a previously promised $150 million loan guarantee.

If that loan guarantee isn't finalized, 1366 Technologies, instead of creating 1,000 good-paying jobs in Genesee County, could turn to an overseas location for its manufacturing facility.

"We remain focused on the U.S. and U.S. job creation," said Laureen Sanderson, spokeswoman for 1366. "We continue to work closely with the State and GCEDC, who remain committed to the project, and we’re in active discussions with the Department of Energy. Those discussions have been positive, but we’ve yet to receive a final indication on the status of the loan."

The Boston Business Journal reported today that 1366 just secured another $9 million in funding from investors, bringing the total raised to $89 million. The article also raised the specter of 1366 locating its facility in another country.

The company identified a site in New York for that manufacturing facility, but is still working to officially secure the funding from the DOE. In the meantime, a company spokesperson said, 1366 is exploring the possibility of building its first factory abroad due to the commercial interest its technology has received internationally.

"We are exploring possibilities to build factories internationally, but that has always been part of our plan," Sanderson said, adding, "It is understood that building in the U.S. is only possible if the loan is accessible. If it’s not there, we need to pursue the other options available to us."

The factory would be about 130,000 square feet and located in the advanced manufacturing park under construction in Alabama known as STAMP. It's been a decade-long process by Steve Hyde and the GCEDC to bring STAMP to fruition and 1366 Technologies is the first, and so far, only significant tenant announced for the park.

The company selected STAMP in part because of its location to low-cost, clean energy, specifically, hydropower from Niagara Falls. 

The proprietary method 1366 Technologies uses to manufacture solar wafers was developed at MIT and leads to solar wafers that are more efficient, produced at lower costs and with less waste than the way solar wafers are manufactured currently. The company's immediate goal is to manufacture wafers domestically for export to large solar installations overseas, such as the one completed earlier this year in Japan

Hyde said GCEDC remains committed to bringing 1366 to Genesee County.

He issued this statement:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), along with our U.S. Senate and Congressional delegates, continue to work with 1366 Technologies to help secure the US Department of Energy Loan Guarantee that will enable the company to build their first Direct Wafer manufacturing facility at the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP).

We believe that the Company has clarified their intentions that their strategy is a U.S. manufacturing first strategy and as such fully aligns with their previous commitments to establish their U.S. manufacturing hub at our 1,250-acre STAMP High Tech Mega-Campus here in Genesee County.

Rep. Chris Collins, through a statement issued by staff, said he is doing what he can to help secure the loan guarantee for 1366.

Congressman Collins has been actively working with partners at the Genesee County Economic Development Center to assist in opening a dialogue with 1366 Technologies and the U.S. Department of Energy. The Congressman is pleased that Secretary Rick Perry recently met with 1366 Technologies executives to discuss this project. These conversations are necessary to make sure that any significant taxpayer investment in the form of a government backed loan is made prudently.
We are hopeful that an understanding will be reached that protects taxpayers while creating economic opportunity in Genesee County. The Congressman will continue in his role in assisting this conversation and always remains committed to supporting efforts to create jobs in Genesee County.

The loan guarantee was promised to 1366 in 2011 but during the transition to the Trump Administration, there were delays related to the transition.

Sanderson said, "There was a transition with the change in administration and that was more challenging than we had expected. However, we’re now having the right discussions and those remain active."

The company is entering a highly competitive solar market that is booming (Solar Employs More People In U.S. Electricity Generation Than Oil, Coal And Gas Combined). Sanderson acknowledged the company, which currently has a small facility in Boston that employs 60 people, is keen to move forward with full production.

"We’re eager to bring the technology to mass production because we know what it can do for the industry and for consumers’ ability to access inexpensive solar power," Sanderson said. "But we’ve certainly taken advantage of the time in the run-up to scale to make additional technical gains. We’ve now surpassed the efficiency of the incumbent technology and have a cost advantage that no sawn wafer can beat. We’ll continue to make gains as the first step – but certainly not the last – in our scaling effort crystallizes."

UPDATE Friday, 10 a.m.: Statement from the office of Sen. Charles Schumer:

“Last month Senator Schumer spoke directly to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry and urged him to reach out to the 1366 Technologies CEO and meet with 1366. Almost immediately after the conversation, Secretary Perry reached out to the CEO and met that following week. Our office remains in very close contact with 1366 Technologies and the Department of Energy,” said Jason Kaplan, spokesman for Senator Schumer.

October 12, 2017 - 4:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, Alabama, STAMP.

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced, after his push, that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the Empire Pipeline Inc.’s revised and extended PILOT agreement with Genesee County in order to keep an important water infrastructure project on track.

Schumer said that with the agreement now approved and renewed, funds can be cleared for new water infrastructure at Genesee County’s Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP), bringing good-paying jobs to the Western New York region and investing in New York State’s critical infrastructure.

“This is great news for Genesee County, with the PILOT agreement renewed and approved upgrades to water infrastructure at STAMP can begin and stay on schedule and put new jobs in the pipeline,” Senator Schumer said.

I am pleased FERC heeded my calls to act quickly and approve this petition to ensure that the timely construction of new water infrastructure is not held up by bureaucratic red-tape.This newly approved agreement is a win-win for job creation and the hard-working people of Genesee County, allowing the Genesee County Economic Development Center to proceed with vital upgrades to the STAMP business park.”

Schumer explained that the original PILOT agreement between Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) and Empire Pipeline was approved by FERC and implemented in 2007 as part of Empire Pipeline’s investment to construct a new gas compression station in the Town of Oakfield in Genesee County. The agreement was up for renewal and Schumer called for FERC to review and approve the application, the agreement will hold through 2032.

This request does not include any new construction, but is solely an amendment and extension of the original PILOT agreement. Funding provided to Genesee County by Empire Pipeline under this PILOT agreement is required by Genesee County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC) to finance Phase 2 construction of new water lines to serve STAMP and with FERCs final sign off construction will no longer be delayed.

September 26, 2017 - 3:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, Alabama, STAMP, GCEDC.

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Monday urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve the Empire Pipeline Inc.’s revised and extended PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreement with Genesee County in order to keep an important water infrastructure project on track.

Schumer said that with the agreement now up for renewal, it is essential that FERC approve the extended agreement to finance new water infrastructure at Genesee County’s Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Business Park (STAMP), bringing good paying jobs to the Rochester Finger Lakes region and investing in New York State’s critical infrastructure.

“Genesee County’s PILOT agreement is vital to keep water infrastructure construction at STAMP on schedule and put new jobs in the pipeline,” Senator Schumer said. “FERC must act quickly and approve this petition to ensure that the timely construction of new water infrastructure is not held up by bureaucratic red tape.

"This agreement is a win-win for job creation and the hard working people of Genesee County, allowing the Genesee County Economic Development Center to proceed with vital upgrades to the STAMP business park.”

Schumer explained that the original PILOT agreement between Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) and Empire Pipeline was approved by FERC and implemented in 2007 as part of Empire Pipeline’s investment to construct a new gas compression station in the Town of Oakfield in Genesee County. This agreement is now up for renewal through 2032.

This request does not include any new construction, but is solely an amendment and extension of the original PILOT agreement.

This renewal agreement was approved by Genesee County and Empire Pipeline in 2016 and is currently awaiting final approval by FERC. Funding provided to Genesee County by Empire Pipeline under this PILOT agreement is required by Genesee County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC) to finance Phase 2 construction of new water lines to serve STAMP and timely action by FERC is needed to ensure the construction timeline is not delayed.

A copy of Schumer’s letter appears below:

Dear FERC Chairman Chatterjee:

I write to request that you take swift action on the Petition (Docket CP06-5, Sub Docket 013) filed by Empire Pipeline Inc. to approve its revised and extended PILOT (Payment in lieu of taxes) agreement with Genesee County, NY, which is necessary to finance new job-creating water infrastructure at Genesee County’s STAMP (Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Business Park) business park. 

The original PILOT agreement between Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) and Empire Pipeline was approved by FERC and implemented in 2007 as part of Empire Pipeline’s investment to construct a new gas compression station in the Town of Oakfield in Genesee County. This agreement is now up for renewal through 2032. This request does not include any new construction, but is solely an amendment and extension of the original PILOT agreement. This renewal agreement was approved by Genesee County and Empire Pipeline in 2016 and is currently awaiting final approval by FERC. 

Timely approval of this agreement is necessary to ensure that the construction of new water infrastructure, which is crucial to economic development in the region, can proceed on schedule. The $4 million in proceeds paid by Empire Pipeline to Genesee County under this renewal agreement are set to be used to finance new job-creating water line investment in Genesee County. Specifically this funding is required to complete the financing of the Phase 2 construction of new water lines to serve the forthcoming STAMP business park, a 1,250-acre site that Genesee County is transforming into a shovel-ready business park to attract new manufacturing business and jobs. As the Phase 1 water construction is now underway, I request FERC expeditiously schedule this Petition for action in order to enable the Genesee County Economic Development Center to proceed on its Phase 2 schedule without delay. 

Thank you for your attention to this request. 

Sincerely, 

Charles E. Schumer

August 31, 2017 - 11:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, GCEDC, Alabama, business, batavia.

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More than a decade of planning, preparation, promotion, lobbying, public hearings, and approvals have finally culminated in the first shovel in the ground for the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in the northwest corner of Genesee County.

Contractors are making room for roads along with water, sewer, and electrical transmission lines, clearing brush and trees and grading the ground to specifications.

"We're pretty excited to be moving forward on infrastructure and breaking ground and turning it into a modern business park," said Mark Masse, VP of operations for Genesee County Economic Development Corporation.

The infrastructure project, which includes a new water main being installed down Judge Road in Oakfield to Route 77 and then out to STAMP, is covered by a $33 million budget appropriations in New York's 2014 state budget. 

The new sewer system is still in the design and approval process and electrical won't be completed until the first tenant -- probably 1366 Technologies -- designs its project and specifies its electrical needs, but all of that infrastructure will be covered by the 2014 budget appropriations.

The new Oakfield-Alabama water line will carry 200,000 gallons of water a day to the Town of Alabama and STAMP. A second water line will also be installed from Pembroke to STAMP, which will provide 600,000 to 800,000 gallons per day of capacity, giving STAMP access to nearly one million gallons of water a day.

As for 1366, the company continues to be engaged with GCEDC in preparations for construction of its solar wafer manufacturing plant, but is still awaiting final approval of a loan guarantee by the Department of Energy. The Trump Administration has yet to fill vacancies on the DoE's board, which must authorize final approval.

Rachael J. Tabelski, GCEDC's director of marketing and communications, said both Rep. Chris Collins and the office of Sen. Charles Schumer have been engaged in trying to help move the process along.

Tabelski also said tech companies looking for locations such at STAMP have shown a good deal of interest in the project. GCEDC has received 14 requests for information and hosted 10 site visits. The projects combined represent a total of $11.5 billion in investments.

"The sales funnel is full," Tabelski said. "There's a lot of interest in STAMP, so it's a matter of when not if."

When that when arrives, Genesee County and the entire region will be expected to provide the employees for these new companies, so GCEDC is also aggressively pursuing workforce development projects with area schools, colleges and universities, Tabelski said.

"There is going to be a need in mechatronics, nano technology, and STEM at all levels of these companies," Tabelski said. "We will have a need for all of these kinds of workers."

(STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering (and) Math.)

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August 23, 2017 - 12:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, STAMP, business.

Press Release:

Silicon wafer manufacturer 1366 Technologies today announced a new performance record for 1366’s Direct Wafer® technology with the achievement of 20.3% cell efficiency, independently confirmed by Fraunhofer ISE CalLab. The company achieved this repeated efficiency record in a joint effort together with its development partner Hanwha Q CELLS. 1366’s Direct Wafer products in combination with Hanwha Q CELLS’ Q.ANTUM cell technology also achieved an average efficiency of 20.1% on the pilot line with standard processes used in mass production. The collaboration between the two companies has boosted the cell efficiency of the Direct Wafer technology by an average of 0.8% per year.​

“Our strategic partnership with Hanwha Q CELLS is paving the way for a solar future where high-efficiency cells are realized at a substantially lower cost,” said Frank van Mierlo, CEO, 1366 Technologies. “Working at the melt level, rather than an ingot, means you can play with the make-up of the wafer as it is being formed. The wafer is no longer a commodity but a source for efficiency gains and differentiation. With the combined benefits of our Direct Wafer products and Hanwha’s Q.ANTUM cell technologies, we are rapidly closing in on 21% efficiency and demonstrating performance previously only achievable with monocrystalline wafers.”

“Together, Hanwha Q CELLS and 1366 have made meaningful progress in increasing the efficiency of solar cells based on Direct Wafers. The latest performance record again shows the potential that lies in combining 1366’s innovative Direct Wafer® technology with our established Q.ANTUM cell technology,” said Daniel Jeong, Global CTO and Executive Vice President at Hanwha Q CELLS.

“The simple fact is sawing ingots – whether cast multi or pulled mono – is wasteful and energy intensive. It’s an old process for a modern industry. While streamlining the supply chain has lowered costs, the ability to provide further value through innovation is severely constrained,” continued van Mierlo. “Direct Wafer products deliver the lowest LCOE for a cost-driven industry and we do it without sacrificing performance, using just 1/3 the energy.”

The wafers were produced with 1366’s current production furnaces in Bedford, MA and the cell fabrication was completed using production process equipment at Hanwha Q CELLS’ Center for Technology, Innovation, and Quality in Thalheim, Germany.

June 29, 2017 - 4:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, STAMP, business, news.

A company that could revolutionize the solar industry, with manufacturing based in Genesee County, is making progress on bringing its solar wafer technology to market at scale.

This week, 1366 Technologies announced that a Japanese energy company has opened a new power station using wafers manufactured with its proprietary high-performance wafers.

Though work is proceeding to prepare the STAMP industrial park in Alabama for its first tenant, there is no word yet on when there will be a groundbreaking for STAMP or for the 1366 plant, which could eventually employ as many as 1,000 people. The plant is expected to manufacture solar wafers primarily for export to industrial solar installations, such as the new facility in Japan.

Press release:

Silicon wafer manufacturer 1366 Technologies today announced that Japan’s IHI Corporation, through its wholly owned subsidiary IHI Plant Construction Co. Ltd (IPC), has completed the grid connection and begun commercial operation of a 500-kW solar installation featuring 1366’s high-performance wafers. During its lifespan, the array is expected to displace approximately 9,500 metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. 1366 and IHI celebrated the completion of the system this week at a ceremony in Tokyo.

“This commercial installation delivers all of the expected benefits specific to solar power and then some, the energy payback of an installation featuring Direct Wafer products is accelerated to less than a year due to the fact that our technology uses just one-third the energy,” said Frank van Mierlo, CEO, 1366 Technologies. “IHI has a long history of identifying and adopting groundbreaking technologies, we’re proud the Direct Wafer process is part of that story.”

The array, located in the Japanese prefecture Hyōgo and consisting of IEC-certified modules fabricated by a Tier 1 manufacturer in China, includes more than 120,000 wafers made with 1366’s revolutionary Direct Wafer® process. All the wafers were produced at 1366’s demonstration facility, using the Company’s production-ready Direct Wafer furnaces.

This installation builds on the success at test sites in the United States, Germany and Japan and demonstrates the Company’s ability to run the Direct Wafer process at scale. It also underscores the broad appeal of the technology downstream where customers want advanced, high-quality systems with lower carbon footprints.

“It has been our goal to expand our portfolio of renewable energy systems with innovative technologies that dramatically reduce cost and deliver superior performance of photovoltaic systems. This installation achieves that goal,” said Otani, of IHI Corporation.

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June 15, 2017 - 5:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, STAMP, GCEDC, construction bids.

Press release:

The process for the construction of infrastructure in and around the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) continues as the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced an advertisement for sealed bids for the construction of the STAMP main access road and widening of New York State Route 77/63.

Bids will be received by the agency up until 2 p.m. EST on June 27. 

The road work includes the construction of approximately 3,300 linear feet of new roadway and drainage for the STAMP main entrance between NYS Route 77/63 and Crosby Road, and an alternate bid that includes constructing a new northbound left turn lane on NYS Route 77/63, all located in the Town of Alabama.

“Bids for the road work are in addition to the bids that have been accepted , reviewed and awarded for water work to support STAMP,” said Mark Masse, senior vice president of operations at the GCEDC. “Over the summer we will see actual work being done to prepare the site which will only enhance the opportunities to market STAMP to emerging advanced technology manufacturing businesses.”

The issuing office for the road work bidding documents is Clark Patterson Lee, 186 N. Water St., Rochester (NY 14604). All inquiries should be made to Debbie Button-Vanderwall at [email protected] or at 585-402-7511. The bidding documents also can be viewed at this location on Monday-Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Only Written Requests For Information (RFI) will be accepted. If necessary, an Addendum will be issued by 5 p.m. EST on June 20. Requests should be made to Zach Anderson via email: [email protected] or facsimile: 585-232-5836.

This project is partially funded by Empire State Development. Prospective bidders should review the Empire State Development requirements included in the contract documents. The project also is subject to a Project Labor Agreement.

About the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC): The GCEDC is the primary economic development agency in Genesee County. The GCEDC’s mission is to assist local economic development efforts by serving in a conduit financing capacity enabling the issuance of taxable and non-taxable debt to benefit the growth, expansion, ongoing operations and continued viability of for profit business enterprise in Genesee County thereby helping to maintain a sustainable long-term economy. The Batavia/Genesee County region has been recognized for eight consecutive years by "Site Selection Magazine" as a top 10 micropolitan in the United States and is rated number three by "Business Facilities Magazine" as a top metro area for food processing and manufacturing growth.

June 2, 2017 - 11:04am
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, GCEDC, STAMP.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors approved the selection of LeChase Construction Services of Rochester at the agency’s June 1 board meeting. The GCEDC Board approved the selection based on the recommendation of the members of the GCEDC STAMP Committee.

The $3.18 million project includes the trenching and installation of approximately 50,000 square feet of pipe that will extend from the Town of Oakfield to the site of the Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP). The work also will include connecting some households on Church Street and Maple Road in the Town of Alabama.

The project is being funded through $33 million allocated to STAMP by New York State to make the 1,250 mega-site shovel ready for advanced manufacturing operations, including 1366 Technologies.

“It’s exciting to see the first substantive infrastructure work that starts the process of making STAMP a shovel ready site,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “It really enhances our opportunities to market the site to those who are in the planning process of identifying shovel ready sites to build the next generation of advanced manufacturing facilities.”

April 24, 2017 - 11:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, STAMP, Alabama, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) today announced that William Kent Inc. in Stafford will conduct an auction for items in vacant structures on the site of STAMP -- Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park. The items to be auctioned are from 6758 Allegany Road; 6725 Crosby Road; and, 6840 Crosby Road. 

The auction will be held online from April 27 through May 2.  All items purchased must be removed from the properties by May 12.  The auction will precede asbestos removal and demolition of the structures.

The agreement between the GCEDC and William Kent Inc. states that the auction company will receive 10-percent commission of the sale of all items. William Kent Inc. also may deduct their fee from the gross sales receipts resulting from the sale of the items. The notice of the auction was published in The Batavia Daily News, Genesee Valley PennySaver (Oatka and Batavia editions) and the Lake Country PennySaver.

“There are items in the vacant structures that have some value and funds from the online auction will be used to mitigate costs associated with preparing the site for development,” said Mark Masse, senior vice president, GCEDC.

Since 1970, William Kent Inc. has conducted thousands of auctions across upstate New York from farm and commercial properties to estates and antiques.

For more information about the online auction please visit www.williamkentinc.com.

March 20, 2017 - 1:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, GCEDC, Alabama, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) today announced that bids for infrastructure work at STAMP have been released. A legal notice announcing the bids will be published March 20.

The GCEDC also will host a pre-bid conference on March 29 at 10 a.m. at the MedTech Centre’s Innovation Zone so that interested parties can ask questions about specifications for the bids and other relevant information, including MWBE requirements and the Project Labor Agreement (PLA).

“We are extremely aware of the fact that the funding for the infrastructure work involves taxpayer money and as such this is going to be an extremely transparent process,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “We fully anticipate having shovels in the ground in a couple of months.”

Clark Patterson Lee is issuing the bids and will manage construction inspection for Phase I work for water infrastructure, including enhancements to the Town of Alabama water system. The engineering firm will also be issuing bids in the near future and managing construction inspection on roadways within the STAMP site and the main entrance off of routes 63 and 77. 

The firm will review the bids for the road and water infrastructure work and make recommendations to the GCEDC Board for approval.

March 3, 2017 - 9:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, STAMP, business, news.

Staff at Genesee County Economic Development Center responded to 120 leads of businesses looking for locations to set up new facilities, CEO Steve Hyde told members of the County Legislature during his annual review of the agency's progress before the Ways and Means Committee.

The pipeline of high-tech businesses that are looking for the kind of location the STAMP project in Alabama provides includes at least two "whales," Hyde said.

That has kept staff busy, especially in a year when work continues to prepare STAMP for ground breaking this spring.

"We're one of the few counties in the state with lots of sites to choose from," Hyde said.

Those include not only STAMP but the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, Apple Tree Acres, Buffalo East, Gateway II, Upstate Med-Tech, Oatka Hills and now the Le Roy Food and Tech Park.

"Our body of work is as big as it's ever been at the agency," Hyde said.

It was a tepid year for job growth, Hyde said, and uncertainty around the Federal election in 2016 had many businesses sitting on their hands waiting to see what happened, but he thinks Genesee County is well positioned to move forward in the new era of technology-led growth.

While technology jobs tend to optimize for efficient production, there will be opportunities for people who want to live and work in Genesee County.

"You've got to go after these high-tech jobs because they're good paying, well-paying jobs for kids from high school degrees and technical training all the way up to PhDs," Hyde said. "They don't create as many jobs per square foot, but they create a lot of jobs for what we're used to in Genesee County."

This year will be a big year for implementation, Hyde said, especially on STAMP, with the beginning of a phased approach to a $40 million investment in roads, water, sewer, gas and electric at the site.

The agency is awaiting federal approval of a natural gas pipeline project that has apparently been delayed by the transition of White House administrations.

"There are not enough sitting commissioners Federal Energy Regulatory Committee to approve our little pipeline with natural gas," Hyde said. "Of course, they can approve the Dakota Pipeline but not that little stuff. That didn't get done."

There's also a delay in Department of Energy funding assistance for 1366 Technologies and without securing that funding, 1366 has delayed its own announcement of when it will be breaking ground on its solar wafer manufacturing facility in Alabama.

Meanwhile, to help support STAMP with a qualified labor force, GCEDC is working with area colleges and universities on a program called STEM to STAMP, which will provide course work suitable for the kind of jobs expected to be created at STAMP.

There's also a lot of interest at area high schools in filtering that coursework down to that level of education, including at Pembroke, Oakfield-Alabama, Batavia, and Byron-Bergen.

"We're all talking about, 'How can we take this model where we can take this curriculum that's developed by universities and colleges and bring pieces of that course work down into our secondary schools?' " Hyde said.

Given the potential of STAMP to create 11,500 good-paying jobs in high tech, Hyde said the agency continues to push state and federal officials for support.

"We're not getting there unless we continue to find ways to secure infrastructure funding, to expand the capacity, so I can go out and sell them and try to bag the big whale," Hyde said.

The GCEDC will host its annual meeting at noon today at Batavia Downs.

January 20, 2017 - 9:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, GCEDC, Alabama, business.

What started over a decade ago as a concept to market a site for the emerging advanced manufacturing industry became a reality as the Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved contracts to prepare bids for infrastructure work at STAMP. The first phase of infrastructure funding is part of the $33 million allocated to STAMP --  -- Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park -- from the Buffalo Billion.

“This is a watershed moment for STAMP,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia. “We are finally going to start putting shovels in the ground to begin the process of building a next-generation site to bring advanced manufacturing companies to our region.”

The board approved a contract for $380,000 to the engineering firm Clark Patterson Lee to prepare bids and handle construction inspection for Phase I and Phase II work for water infrastructure, including enhancements to the Town of Alabama water system. The board approved a second contract for $165,000 to Clark Patterson Lee to prepare bids and handle construction inspection on roadways within the STAMP site and the main entrance off of Route 77. The firm will oversee the drafting, issuance and review of the various bids for the road and water infrastructure work.

“It’s one thing to say to corporate site selectors and economic development officials that you have a site for potential development as opposed to having a site that is shovel ready with road and utility infrastructure already built,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “Our site immediately rises to the top of the list among those making decisions about where they are going to build the next new advanced manufacturing facility.”

It is anticipated that the bidding documents for the water and roadway will work be released in mid-February with actual work to begin on site in late spring.

The GCEDC board meeting was held on Thursday, Jan. 19.

December 26, 2016 - 12:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, STAMP, business, GCEDC.

The timeline has been pushed back, but expectations are still high for the eventual success of 1366 Technologies, the Bedford, Mass.-based solar wafer maker that anticipates eventually creating 1,000 new jobs in Genesee County.

Even as the process moves along slowly, 1366 continues to go forward.

Last week, the company announced a new record in solar power efficiency for a wafer in their product category; in August it unveiled a new beveled edge on its wafer, which helps retain wafer strength while keeping the wafer very thin.

These breakthroughs will help further reduce the cost of the energy produced by solar panels that use 1366's wafers.

The stated goal of 1366 is to help make the production of electricity from solar cheaper than electricity produced by coal.

That might have seemed like a moonshot-ambition when plans to locate 1366's manufacturing plant in the Town of Alabama were first announced two years ago, but the cost of solar energy has dropped by two-thirds in recent years and there are parts of the world now where solar arrays are producing electricity at a cost below that of coal.

In the rapidly evolving technology field, it might seem like delays in getting a new plant open would cause the business owners to worry about losing precious time, but that isn't the case, according to a spokeswoman for 1366.

"I’m sure you’ve noted this, but our path to commercial success has been methodical from day one," Laureen Sanderson said. "It’s one of the reasons why we’re now in a position to scale in a big way. It’s incredibly important to us that we’re careful stewards of all resources sent our way – private and public – and we think we’ve done a good job of balancing the demands to get to market quickly while taking what we see as essential steps to remove all risk – like getting a customer contract in place before a factory is even built."

The cost reductions achieved by the solar industry so far are largely incremental and the result of increasing scale, not big improvements in the technology. The silicon wafers used in solar panels today are made the same way solar wafers have been made for 40 years. The 1366 process is radically different.

Because the company is built around patented, proprietary technology and processes, officials believe they will come to market with a disruptive and competitive advantage whenever they ramp up to full-scale production.

"Direct Wafer technology is a singular achievement," Sanderson said. "We’re the first and only company to solve this manufacturing challenge. There are many great solar innovations out there but they’re in labs. Science projects. It takes years to move from the lab to the factory floor; most ideas never do. What we’ve achieved isn’t easy and the industry knows that."

What exactly is delaying groundbreaking at the new technology park in Alabama, WNY STAMP, isn't clear.

When we've asked Steve Hyde -- CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center and the first advocate for a technology park in Genesee County more than a decade ago -- about the delays, he says everybody is continuing to diligently work on the process; there is ongoing progress, and he quotes one of his favorite phrases, "Economic development is a marathon. It isn't a sprint."

A year ago, officials expected to break ground in the spring. In September, Hyde said there would be a groundbreaking in the fall. Now, the earliest estimate is this coming spring.

Reached this morning, Hyde said infrastructure and construction bidding will start after the first of the year. Water service and the main entrance road will be bid out first. 

"2017 will be a busy year for construction," Hyde said. 

Frank van Mierlo, CEO of 1366, told E&E News earlier this year that he expects to be up and running at STAMP by the end of 2017. Van Mierlo reportedly told E&E that "permitting and red tape" have slowed progress.

"We're moving," he said. "It's certainly not moving as rapidly as one might hope." 

"It's going to be a stretch," he added. "The end of the year rather than the beginning. We definitely want to be in construction next year."

The reason everyone remains so upbeat about the prospects of 1366 is it seems like the company has charted a solid business model built on breakthrough technology.

This isn't PepsiCo trying to enter an already crowded Greek yogurt sector with a barely differentiated product and hoping marketing and supply chain alone could win. This is a company entering an emerging industry with growing demand and a process that will substantially reduce the cost of production.

"Nobody is close. We can produce the wafer at 30 cents a wafer," van Mierlo told E&E News. "Even at today's prices, you are still very profitable. At today's prices, nobody else is profitable. That is the point.

"There's no false modesty here," he added. "Our technology is truly revolutionary when it comes to reducing costs."

In his best-selling business book, "Zero to One," venture capitalist Peter Thiel says new businesses should be built around innovations that are a 10-times improvement over anything currently in the market. 1366 seems to be hitting that mark.

"The Direct Wafer process is a dramatic improvement over the way wafers are manufactured today and it’s specific to us," Sanderson said. "(We achieve a) 50-percent reduction in cost and two-thirds energy reduction over conventional (production) methods. Better yet is the product – which costs less and uses less (energy) to make, doesn’t require any tradeoffs in performance."

That's why the recent efficiency tests were so important. 

Efficiency is the measure of how much sunlight that hits a solar wafer is converted into electricity. The 1366 wafer was tested in conjunction with new technology from a partner company, Hanwha Q CELLS Co. Ltd., of Seoul, South Korea.

While there is other solar technology that has achieved higher efficiency, that isn't the norm in the industry.

"In a head-to-head comparison with standard high-performance multicrystalline (HPM) wafers, we exceeded the average performance of that HPM reference group," Sanderson said. "And there are more gains to be had through new wafer features that are possible because we’re able to work at the melt level. There’s no other company in the world able to do that."

In the startup world, the common advice, and the practice often most attractive to potential investors is a company that aims at a specific market segment, an achievable target that promises growth.

For 1366, their approach is to make only wafers (compared to Solar City, opening in Buffalo, that makes not just the wafer, but the entire solar panel and even handles installation) and sell them to companies on an international market that will make panels for industrial solar installations.

That's a very specific market, and 1366 already has customers lined up, most notably, Hanwha, their partner in the recent efficiency tests. The company has also secured an investment from silicon supplier Wacker Chemie.

Silicon, of course, is the key ingredient in making solar wafers. It's a derivative of sand, but unlike the process used to make silicon wafers for four decades, which involves shaving down silicon ingots into the appropriate shape and thickness, 1366 wafers are poured from molten silicon, like glass is made, using techniques developed at MIT.

This is why the wafers that will be made in Genesee County will cost less and produce less waste.

A key reason 1366 picked STAMP as its eventual manufacturing home is the availability of low-cost hydropower, itself an environmentally friendly, renewable energy source. That will also make it easier for 1366 to keep production costs down.

The proximity to Buffalo, however, has invited comparisons between 1366 and Solar City, which is opening at Riverbend and has been an ongoing source of speculation and controversy, but 1366 and Solar City are really very different companies. 

Solar City, as noted, is a vertically integrated manufacturer and distributor -- so much so that company Chairman Elon Musk has merged Solar City with Tesla, his company that makes electric cars. Musk wants to control the entire energy supply chain for his vehicles, from converting to solar energy to powering the batteries that Telsa makes, too.

A big part of Solar City's business model has long been residential solar installations, a market that has been seemingly dependent on state and federal tax subsidies, subsidies that have come under criticism and may not last under the Trump Administration.

While Trump campaigned on a promise to save coal jobs, every cabinet appointment he's made so far, notably Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon for secretary of state, and Rick Perry, for the Department of Energy, are hardly friendly to coal. They're interest lies closer to natural gas, currently coal's primary competitor for electricity generation, but that also wouldn't seem to bode well for backers of solar power.

Sanderson said 1366 isn't worried.

"Solar is a global industry and it’s growing rapidly," Sanderson said. "That’s not changing. Our technology will further support this growth as we continue the trend of costs coming down. We help to make solar even more accessible and we want to support this global growth with U.S. manufacturing and U.S. jobs."

There's still plenty of R&D work to do on solar, Sanderson noted, and 1366 received early-stage R&D funding from the Department of Energy.

"It’s important to keep in mind that while we’re a solar company, we’re also a manufacturer," Sanderson said. "We’re looking forward to working with the next administration to create U.S. manufacturing jobs."

In this case, of course, U.S. manufacturing jobs should translate into Genesee County manufacturing jobs. Time will tell.

October 30, 2016 - 1:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, GCEDC, business, Alabama, news.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center Board of Directors voted at its Oct. 27 meeting to accept Empire State Development’s $28 million Grant Disbursement Agreement (GDA) to start infrastructure work at the STAMP campus in order to achieve shovel-ready status.

The funding will be used to acquire some remaining acreage at the site and construction and inspection services for water lines, wastewater pump stations and sewer lines, road infrastructure and gas and electric connectivity. It is anticipated that the first bid for infrastructure work will be for the construction of a water system from Oakfield to the STAMP site.

“Based on the release of the funds, we expect that bids will be going out in the next couple of months,” said Mark Masse, CPA, Sr. VP of Operations for the GCEDC. “The other projects that the agency will be putting out to bid over the next few months include onsite construction of the roadway and associated stormwater management.”

Among other things, GCEDC staff is working with its engineering consultants and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as officials in Orleans County on the permitting for the sewer line to extend from the STAMP campus to the Medina wastewater treatment plant.

STAMP is New York State’s second mega-site designed to attract high-tech companies like semiconductor, solar, photonics, bio-pharmaceuticals, energy storage companies and other advanced manufacturing operations. The campus consists of 1,250 acres and planned development of more than 6 million square feet of manufacturing space.

Overall economic studies estimate that 10,000 employees could work directly on campus with up to 50,000 supply-type jobs created across Western New York and the Finger Lakes regions. The campus will also bring significant construction work to the region.

“STAMP has been validated by site selection community as a highly attractive greenfield site for large advanced manufacturers, and we continue to work with interested companies that are looking for a mega campus with the right infrastructure that includes large electric, gas, water and sewer capacity combined with our amazing workforce here in the Finger Lakes and Western New York regions,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

“This is evidenced by securing the commitment of 1366 Technologies, a solar wafer manufacturing company which plans to locate its operations on the campus.”

August 22, 2016 - 4:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in michael ranzenhofer, STAMP, business, GCEDC.

Press release:


Empire State Development has approved $46 million in state funding for the WNY STAMP Project. Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has issued the following statement:

“I laud the Genesee County Economic Development Center and Empire State Development for their most recent actions to bring the WNY STAMP Project to fruition. The unanimous approval of $46 million in state funding paves the way for construction to begin in the fall.

"In 2015, I spearheaded the effort to secure $33 million for the project, and I am pleased that it will soon reach its final destination, the largest economic development project ever in Genesee County. The project is a game changer for our region. Now, we are one step closer to creating at least 600 new, full-time jobs for residents of Genesee County.”

August 18, 2016 - 4:55pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, STAMP, empire state development, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Empire State Development (ESD) Board of Directors today approved a total of $46 million in grant funds for infrastructure construction and development at the Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP).

The site, located in Alabama, Genesee County, is currently being prepared for anchor tenant 1366 Technologies to build its first large-scale commercial Direct Wafer™ production plant and significantly grow its workforce. The company, which develops and manufactures high performance silicon wafers for the solar energy industry, will create at least 600 new, full-time jobs and several hundred million dollars of private investment in the Finger Lakes region.

The development of the STAMP site has been a priority project for the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) for the past five years and is a major component of advancing “Finger Lakes Forward.”

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said: “Today's board approval reinforces New York State’s commitment to fostering the clean energy technologies of the future to create jobs and economic opportunities for New Yorkers. These funds ensure infrastructure work continues, bringing us another step closer to STAMP hosting 1366 Technologies, and the hundreds of new high-tech jobs they’re going to generate.”

The funding approved today for the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) enables infrastructure work at the STAMP site to continue, in preparation for the construction of 1366 Technologies’ production plant. The project, announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last October, will progress in phases, with 1366 Technologies initially building a 250MW facility that will ultimately be a 3GW wafer facility. Over the course of the multiphase project, 1366 will invest approximately $700 million, including a $100 million initial investment, becoming the largest economic development project in the history of Genesee County.

Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, said: “The approval of these funds by Empire State Development demonstrates the commitment by Governor Cuomo to keep the development of the STAMP site moving forward. With this approval, the GCEDC will be begin construction of the infrastructure required on site, including the necessary infrastructure for the new solar wafer manufacturing facility, 1366 Technologies.”

The GCEDC will use a grant of up to $18 million for facility and infrastructure construction related to the 130,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and related infrastructure for 1366 Technologies, Inc. – the first anchor tenant at STAMP. These funds are part of the $56.3 million in total state incentives that were critical in securing 1366 Technologies commitment to build its factory in Upstate New York. The additional funds approved today, $28 million, are the remaining balance of a $33 million budget appropriation and are primarily for infrastructure construction at STAMP. In November 2015, the ESD Directors approved $5 million for remaining land acquisition and engineering for roadway, electrical, water, sewer and wastewater systems. A portion of the remaining land parcels have been acquired and the engineering phase of the project is approximately 40-percent complete. The remaining funds needed to await completion of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process, which has been completed and with today’s action by the ESD Directors the balance of the project can move forward.

1366 Technologies develops and manufactures high performance silicon wafers, the building block of solar cells and the most expensive component of a solar panel. The company’s revolutionary Direct Wafer™ technology transforms how the wafers are made and replaces a decades-old, expensive and wasteful manufacturing process with one elegant step. The result slashes the cost of a wafer by 50 percent. As a “drop-in” replacement for conventional wafers, 1366 Technologies makes it easy for cell and module manufacturers to strip out costs without adding complexity.

In September 2011, 1366 was also issued a $150 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to build a commercial-scale manufacturing facility.

The Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) site is part of New York’s High Tech Corridor and is the state’s second shovel-ready mega site (1,250 acres) designed to attract large companies including semiconductor, display/ imaging, photovoltaics, optics/ photonics, and bio-manufacturing firms. The site is located within the New York Power Authority’s low-cost hydropower zone and is serviced by redundant, highly reliable power. Located just five miles north of the New York State Thruway on exit 48A, the site has access to a bi-region population of 2.1 million people. The STAMP site has been validated as a regional priority project by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and is supported by regional business and labor organizations, as well as regional colleges and universities.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward

Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $3.4 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here. -- https://www.ny.gov/programs/upstate-revitalization-initiative

July 14, 2016 - 8:46pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in Genesee County Planning Board, news, STAMP, Oakfield.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center's proposal to create access roads to alleviate traffic on Town of Alabama roads in preparation for the arrival of 1366 Technologies was met with approval Thursday night by the Genesee County Planning Board.

County planners, at their monthly meeting at County Building 2, voted in favor of the construction of two access roads on the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in a single recommendation, ruling that the roads -- one running from Route 77 to Crosby Road and the other running from Crosby Road to the 1366 Technologies solar wafer manufacturing facility's property line -- pose no significant countywide or inter-community impact.

The board was concerned, however, about the possibility of traffic having to stop and lining up on Route 77, a major highway that runs to the NYS Thruway interchange in Pembroke.

Mark Masse, GCEDC's senior vice president of operations, said the plan to divert major construction traffic down these access roads, with turning lanes at the main entrance, is subject to approval by the state Department of Transportation. Masse noted that the DOT currently is reviewing a permit application from the GCEDC.

"We are looking to put in the two roads and reinforce and widen a section of Crosby Road," Masse said. "We're also proposing a left-hand turn off of Route 77 onto the STAMP site, but nothing can be done until DOT approves it."

The GCEDC proposal also must go before the Town of Alabama Planning Board.

The Massachusetts-based 1366 Technologies will be the first tenant at STAMP, taking up about 105 of the 1,250 acres available for development.

The county Planning Board welcomed a request from the entire Village of Oakfield to implement comprehensive plan updates, zoning text and map amendments in line with recommendations of the Green Genesee Smart Genesee project, and to write form-based codes for a portion of the village.

The board's approval came with wording that the village's plan represents "a large step forward for land use policy and regulations" and its form-based code governing future development will "respect the traditional character of the downtown and that of the surrounding residences."

County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari went even further, stating that Oakfield's strategy is on the "cutting edge" and he wished that "everybody in Genesee County adopt something like this." He said Oakfield's model is not quite complete as officials "are tweaking it" to meet the village's specific needs.

In other action, the board:

-- Approved, with modifications, a request from Oakfield Hospitality, LLC, (the Patel family from Erie, Pa.) for variances for a freestanding sign area, number of signs and building height for a proposed Fairfield Inn & Suites to be built on Federal Drive in the Gateway I Corporate Park off Route 98 near the Thruway interchange.

The board voted to allow two signs on the four-story, 62-room hotel, not four as requested. After discussion, Sean Hopkins, a Williamsville attorney representing the Patels, revised the request to three signs, but the board opted to allow signs on the east and south sides only.

Planners did not object to a freestanding sign area of 147 square feet, which is more than the 100-square-foot maximum allowed, or to the 51-foot proposed height of the building, which is 11 feet higher than allowed. Since county planners can only recommend, the final decision on the number of signs is in the hands of the Town of Batavia Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals.

-- Approved an update to the Town of Bethany's comprehensive plan, which also is deemed to be "in harmony" with the County Smart Growth Plan and Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan. The board wrote that Bethany's plan addresses timely issues, including renewable energy.

-- Approved exterior changes, specifically a patio, at City Slickers Bar & Grill at 59 Main St., Batavia; two wall signs at Restore, 230 Ellicott St., and a 3,000-square-foot additon to the Genesee ARC recycling center at 3785 W. Main Street Road, Batavia.

-- Approved, with modifications, a sign permit fot a 126-square-foot window sign requested by Victor Marchese, owner of Main Street Pizza, 206 E. Main St., Batavia, stating that the window size is significantly more than the City's 25-percent maximum standard, which, in this case, would be 31.5 square feet.

June 28, 2016 - 1:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, business, STAMP, news.

A Boston-based company that has picked Genesee County for the location of its silicon wafer plant announced a major strategic move today that officials say will provide a tremendous positive impact on cash flow.

Wacker Chemie, a supplier of highly purified silicon, is making a $15 million equity investment in 1366 Technologies through the supply of the silicon that will be used by 1366 to manufacture its advanced silicon wafers.

The silicon wafers will be manufactured in a plant at the Science, Technology & Advanced Maufacturing Park (STAMP) in the Town of Alabama through a process that officials with 1366 say will greatly reduce the cost of solar power.

The partnership will also include a technical collaboration between the two companies. Wacker Chemie will provide expertise in silicon as well as facility design, engineering and construction.

“We see the potential for the Direct Wafer technology to provide an excellent contribution to accelerate global solar adoption," said Ewald Schindlbeck, president, Wacker Polysilicon. "1366 has developed a commercially valid answer to a longtime manufacturing challenge. We’re eager to add our high-quality products and bring our expertise to the effort.” 

Frank van Mierlo, CEO of 1366, said the partnership is a good sign for the future adoption of his company's groundbreaking solar wafer solution.

“Commercial traction is gained when technical success and financial support are established within the industry," van Mierlo said. "This partnership with the world’s most technically advanced silicon provider clearly demonstrates market acceptance for the Direct Wafer technology. Wacker’s silicon is the best in the industry and has been a crucial competitive edge for Wacker’s customers. It will do the same for 1366."

The manufacturing solution developed by 1366 offers a significant advantage over traditional ingot-based production technologies, according to company officials. The process makes wafers in a single step, pulling them directly from molten silicon instead of today’s multistep, energy- and capital-intensive approach, resulting in significant wafer production cost savings.

June 2, 2016 - 4:41pm

empiredevspeakjune22016-2.jpg

A roomful of business and community leaders heard today from Vincent Esposito, director of Empire State Development’s Finger Lakes regional office, as he talked about the economic development opportunity and effort both regionally and in Batavia.

The gathering comes prior to meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall were officials will discuss Batavia's application for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which is a regional competiton with a $10 million prize. CORRECTION: It's at 5:30 p.m., Monday, at the Generation Center.

Batavia has a good shot at the prize because of all the work already put into improving Downtown, most notably the Batavia Opportunity Area, which has 10 brownfield revitalization projects already in the pipeline.

The Finger Lakes Region has already been a big winner in a statewide competition fro regional economic development areas, receiving a grant of $500 million from the state for projects in the region.

There are three main areas of focus for those funds, Esposito said:

  • Eastman Park in Rochester;
  • Downtown Rochester; and,
  • The STAMP project in Genesee County.

About 50 percent of the $500 million are going to projects in Monroe County, Esposito said, and the rest is spread out in the other county's in the region; however, about two-thirds of that 50 percent is going to Genesee County, he said.

The primary goals of the Finger Lakes regional office is job creation, regional wealth creation, increase private investment and reduce poverty.

In the past five years, economic development activity has created 20,000 new jobs, he said.

The projects expected over the next five years, he said, will result in $6.4 billion in private investments and a conservative estimate of 8,200 new jobs.

"We want to keep that commitment low and then over deliver," he said.

The main economic engines in growth for the region he said are optics/photonics, agriculture and food processing and high-tech wafer and chip manufacturing.

The third area is where GCEDC's STAMP project comes in and why it's attracting a big chunk of the funds from the Finger Lakes Region.

"If ever there was a time to be optimistic about your future, this is it," Esposito said.

empiredevspeakjune22016.jpg

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