September 29, 2008

PV a Ripe Opportunity for HV

By Campagiorni, Anthony

PV. Its an abbreviation that has gone from geekspeak to common business usage with remarkable speed during the past two years. It stands for "photovoltaic" - the technology required for solar cells to convert sunlight to electricity - and it could well be a key to the Hudson Valley's economic future.

The global photovoltaic market is projected to grow from $13 billion today to more than $40 billion in 2012. Our region stands at the nexus of cutting-edge R&D well-developed technology-clusters; probity to massive, solar markets and a work force that has the skills and manufacturing expertise to springboard our area into a worldwide leader in PV.

PV materials, technologies and manufacturing requirements bear a striking resemblance to the technologies that fueled the embryonic semiconductor manufacturing lines more than 30 years ago. Statistics show we now have 18,000 people working at microelectronics and "clean tech" companies.

Spurred by PV manufacturers inquiring about potential locations in our nine-county region, the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. has launched a marketing campaign to educate PV-related companies about the assets of the region. The campaign includes a new Web site - - attendance at top solar trade shows and face-to-face meetings with international companies interested in knowing more about business location opportunities in the Hudson Valley.

During a recent week-long trip to Germany where we met with 22 companies ranging from Bosch to smaller, family owned solar companies, we heard over and over again how the U.S. is destined to become the world's largest solar market. At the same time these companies are putting down stakes in Portugal, Spain and Italy where there is ample sunshine, they are eager to establish partnerships in the U.S., particularly because of the strong euro. We hope to play a matchmaking role between German companies that would share their technology and engineering experience and manufacturers in the Hudson Valley that could produce and deliver the solar panels to end- users here.

The excitement about the enormous potential for PV in the U.S. was equally clear during the combined SEMICON West/Intersolar show in San Francisco in mid-July. The halls of the semiconductor show were not nearly as jammed as the solar show.

There's no doubt that PV represents a ripe opportunity for the Hudson Valley. Now, we need to step up and take advantage of it.

Copyright Westfair Communications Sep 1, 2008

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