Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) today joined U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and Binghamton University officials in officially opening the school's new Center for Autonomous Solar Power (CASP) lab. Hinchey, who encouraged the university to pursue solar energy research, used his position on the House Appropriations Committee to secure $8.5 million in federal funding for CASP. During his visit to the school's campus today, the congressman highlighted the importance of federal investments in driving research and innovation, and creating jobs.
"The research that will be done within these walls has the potential to reshape our energy future," said Hinchey. "Changing the way we produce and consume energy is an environmental, economic, and national security imperative. That's why it is so critically important that our government makes substantial investments in laboratories just like this one at Binghamton University. It is an unfortunate reality, however, that many in Washington have sought to eliminate investments in renewable energy research as well as the earmark process that enabled this funding to be allocated. I oppose that shortsighted approach, and instead place my faith in the talented minds here at Binghamton. I am very pleased I was able to secure $8.5 million in federal funding to help get this laboratory up and running and am so proud of the early successes of CASP. I know it's just the beginning of many great achievements that will happen at this new facility."
The CASP, which was formed in 2008 with funds Hinchey secured, was designed to meet the scientific challenges of reducing the cost of solar power and enhancing energy efficiency. The Center draws expertise from engineering, computer science, chemistry and physics to focus on areas such as solar conversion efficiency, storage capabilities, solar module stability and power system cost reduction -- bridging the gap between technology and commercialization.
Hinchey has successfully secured numerous sources of federal funding on behalf of Binghamton University, including two projects for the CASP totaling $8.5 million and three projects for the Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing (CAMM) totaling $5.1 million. These two programs are key components of the Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging Center (S3IP). The Center has also generated over $700 million in economic impact to New York State businesses since 1996.
The CASP is a multi-disciplinary research center that functions as part of the Binghamton University Center of Excellence in Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging (S3IP). Building on the expertise of S3IP, the CASP is researching and developing 3rd generation large area, flexible, light-weight solar cells to meet scientific challenges in reducing the cost of solar power and enhancing energy efficiency. Mimicking nature's own energy-conversion processes, these ultra thin technologies will allow for the design of layered devices that capture all frequencies of the solar spectrum, making the end products more effective and efficient.