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12/18/2014 9:01:17 AM

The Buffalo News: Contract for solar panels may lead to the construction of plant in Buffalo

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The Buffalo News

As announcements go, the selection of Japanese solar panel manufacturer Solar Frontier to supply solar modules for a new, highly energy efficient building on the SUNY Polytechnic Institute campus in Albany barely caused a stir on Wednesday.

But state officials said the announcement was far more than a supply agreement for a new building. They hailed the agreement as a key step in building a relationship between the state and Solar Frontier that ultimately could lead to the opening of a second, major solar panel factory in Buffalo.

While an agreement to build a solar panel factory in Buffalo is likely months away – and more milestones need to be reached – state officials said putting Solar Frontier’s panels on the Zero Energy Nanotechnology building is an important step in demonstrating the feasibility and market potential of the company’s modules in the U.S. market.

“It’s anchoring them basically, to say, we will work with you on doing the demonstrations and showcasing your technology as one of the phases of the partnership to locating them in Buffalo,” said Alain Kaloyeros, SUNY Polytechnic’s chief executive officer, and a key player in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative to make Buffalo a global center for clean energy.

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