Solar panel coating company locates at the Sibley Building; plans on adding jobs
A solar technology company has opened a research and development facility in downtown Rochester.
The company is called SunDensity, it got started at MIT several years ago and now it has its R&D operation in the Sibley Building.
SunDensity has developed a special coating for use on solar panels, that CEO Henry Schek said makes those panels more efficient.
“Part of what our coating does is it increases the amount of power that you can get out of a certain area of solar panel,” said Schek, “and if you can get more power per area that brings the cost down, and it speeds up adoption, even in areas that you might consider, maybe on the fringe for solar efficiency.”
Schek said that it’s expected to take about two-and-a-half years for SunDensity’s product to be commercialized after extensive testing, and he has confidence not only in their coating products but in the solar energy sector overall.
“I do believe it's going to become a major piece in the puzzle,” said Schek. “If you look out at the world, of companies that are investing in solar, and the number of people who I would really call very smart money, very astute investors that are putting their personal treasure into the world of solar, it’s very encouraging for solar.”
The founder, President and Chief Technology Officer of SunDensity, Nish Sonwalker said that “developing our technology here signifies our commitment to providing solar solutions in the U.S.”
And Schek said the Rochester area is a natural place for SunDensity to do the R&D work, given the knowledge base that exists with people who have worked for companies like Kodak and Xerox as well at the strong university presence in Rochester. He referred to “the folks that stuck around when Kodak and Xerox got smaller and the technology they know how to work with, and what we have coming out of the colleges here, it’s a great place to be.”
SunDensity now employs 15 people working downtown and they eventually hope to increase that to 56.
The company is eligible for up to $600,000 through the state’s Excelsior Jobs Tax-Credit program in exchange for the job creation.
As a previous winner of $1 million in the state’s Luminate NY business competition, Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said SunDensity’s decision to locate its operations in Rochester “proves the success” of the state-supported program, and said that strategic investments in emerging companies are helping to cement New York as a worldwide leader in optics, photonics and imaging.