Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gilbert group attends big solar-power conference, trade show

By John Stanley, The Arizona Republic

A contingent of Gilbert solar industry leaders, a town official and Valley economic development representatives attended North America's largest and most comprehensive solar-power conference and trade show last week in Dallas, another indication that Gilbert is solidifying its reputation as a regional hub for clean-energy technologies.

Kelly Patton, a specialist with the town's Business Development Department, attended the Solar Power International conference along with representatives from the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The annual Solar Power International conference is one of the world's largest global solar expos, attracting more than 1,200 exhibitors and about 24,000 industry professionals from more than 125 countries.

Clean technologies are among the kinds of industry sectors that Gilbert is especially interested in luring, said Dan Henderson, the town's business development manager. He noted that solar is one of several clean technologies the town tries to attract through its Human Capital Program (which can offset an enterprise's training costs) and entrepreneurship programs.

Any business within the town's targeted areas - health care (including bio-medical and/or life sciences), science, technology, engineering or intellectual property - is eligible for the programs.
High-tech jobs are especially prized, Henderson said, not only because they typically pay well, but because those industries complement the region's workforce, which has a steady supply of science and engineering students from Arizona State University and other schools in the area.

Gilbert's economic strategies are designed to increase the town's per capita income, Henderson said.

He said the Dallas conference generated several leads for the town that he hopes will result in tech businesses building or re-locating in Gilbert.

Officials from Colnatec, a Gilbert-based developer of sensors and other products essential for the precise measurement needed to manufacture thin film solar cells, attended in something of a dual capacity.

Not only were they showcasing products, such as their new Helios sensor, they were acting as industrial ambassadors for the town.

"I've lived here for 14 years," said Wendy Jameson, Colnatec's CEO. "And I chose it because of the reputation of its schools and the accessibility of services."

She also touted the town's safe neighborhoods and the presence of a technologically educated workforce.

Colnatec recently won a Department of Energy Phase 2 research grant to continue its development of a self-cleaning control sensor with a virtually unlimited lifetime.

Jameson and Scott Grimshaw, Colnatec's chief technology officer, will travel to Washington, D.C., next week to participate with other business leaders in a forum on jobs and economic competitiveness.

"Colnatec is quickly gaining worldwide recognition with its innovative, world-class products for solar and other industries," Gilbert Mayor John Lewis said. "Gilbert is proud to include Colnatec as a major player in our growing technology cluster and we look forward to attracting more companies with their spirit of excellence."

The conference is presented by the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Solar Electric Power Association, each a non-profit organization intended to advance and support the solar power industry and promote the growth of U.S. markets.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Solar Power International

Gilbert, Ariz.-Based Colnatec Highlights Solar Cell Manufacturing Products at SPI 2011

World-Class Technology Leader Shines in Gilbert's Clean & Renewable Energy Sector

DALLAS, Oct 18, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Colnatec LLC, a leading solar technology company in Gilbert, Arizona's growing clean & renewable energy sector, is presenting its new Helios(TM) Vapor Phase Film Thickness System and other solar cell manufacturing solutions at the Solar Power International (SPI) Conference being held October 18-20, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. Representatives from Gilbert's Economic Development Office (located in the Arizona Public Service booth #5913) will be promoting Gilbert's solar-related technology resources, business and partnering opportunities, and investment incentives to companies and site selectors from around the world.

"Colnatec is quickly gaining worldwide recognition with its innovative, world-class products for solar and other industries. Their impressive customer list, prestigious research grants, and even White House recognition all highlight an exciting company making a strong imprint on the future," said Gilbert Mayor John Lewis. "Gilbert is proud to include Colnatec as a major player in our growing technology cluster and we look forward to attracting more companies with their spirit of excellence."
Colnatec is the only company in the world designing and developing state of the art manufacturing process control sensors for thin film measurement of high temperature processes. "Our company is undergoing a strong growth phase and Gilbert continues to meet all of the physical, technical, and infrastructure requirements for our corporate offices, R&D, and manufacturing," said Wendy L. Jameson, CEO of Colnatec.

Colnatec recently won a Department of Energy PHASE II research grant to continue development of a self-cleaning, process control sensor for the manufacture of thin film (CIGS) solar cells. This follows a Phase I award the firm received last year, and it allows them to build upon current state-of-the-art technology and develop enhancements that will result in the production of an unlimited lifetime sensor capable of improving solar cell conversion efficiencies.

Arizona Solar Power Corporate Incentives
-- The Arizona legislature recently passed the Quality Jobs Through Renewable Industries Bill that allows companies engaged in solar, wind, biofuels and other renewable energy industries up to a 10 percent refundable income tax credit and up to a 75% reduction in real and personal property taxes.
-- A 30 percent reduction in the corporate income tax rate, up to a 34 percent state research and development tax credit, and corporate tax credits of up to $9,000 for each qualifying new job.
-- A 100 percent increase in the electable sales factor for multistate corporations and access to job-specific, reimbursable grants to train employees.
Gilbert, AZ & Greater Phoenix Region Solar Power Advantages
-- Arizona is home to the nation's only photovoltaic testing laboratory at ASU Polytechnic - border of Gilbert & Mesa. The most comprehensive, sophisticated, state-of-the-art facility in the world for testing and certification of solar energy companies' equipment.
-- Home to the world's two largest solar companies - First Solar and Suntech.
-- Recent expansion announcements from Power One, Saint Gobain, Gestamp Solar Steel, Rio Glass and Faist Green Tek.
-- More than 100 established solar companies operate in Arizona providing a range of services including manufacturing, design, installation, distribution.
-- Top two market for concentrated semiconductor workforce relative to total employment.
-- Solana, a 280-megawatt concentrating solar power plant under construction--it is the largest such project on private land in the U.S. Arizona is also home to the largest photovoltaic array on U.S. government land--a 15-megawatt plant under construction at Luke Air Force Base.

Newly-Established Arizona Companies Resulting from the Quality Jobs for Renewable Industries bill include:
-- Alpha Energies (57 jobs, $5.1M capital)
-- First Solar (600 jobs, $300M capital)
-- Linamar (52 jobs, $3.5M capital)
-- PowerOne (350 jobs, $11M capital)
-- Rio Glass (109 jobs, $50.6M capital)
-- Suntech (150 jobs, $14M capital)
-- Tower Automotive (182 jobs, $35M capital)

About Gilbert, Ariz. Economic Development Offices
Companies visiting with Gilbert, Arizona representatives at its booth will receive the latest Industry reports, statistics, and other informational materials about Arizona's solar industry and its unique economic advantages, investment opportunities, and future growth areas. Gilbert's Economic Development Office is committed to the attraction and retention of business and industry to the Gilbert community. The division provides expert support in streamlining site searches for businesses, connecting decision-makers and leveraging knowledge assets that spur innovation. Companies interested in opening offices in Gilbert should contact Gilbert's Economic Development Office at: econdev@gilbertaz.gov or (480) 503-6010.

About Gilbert, Arizona
Located in the southeast valley of the Phoenix metropolitan area, Gilbert, Arizona is the 7th largest community in Arizona and 97th in the nation by population. With a resident base of 220,000, Gilbert ranks 36th out of the top 100 best places to live in America according to CNN/Money Magazine. Gilbert also has one of the highest ranked K-12 education systems in Arizona and noted as the 5th safest city in the country. For additional details on Gilbert's low operating costs, established clean technology employers, incentives and available workforce, please contact the Economic Development Office at econdev@gilbertaz.gov or 480.503.6010, or visit: www.gilbertedi.com .
SOURCE: Town of Gilbert, Arizona

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        Joe Waldygo, 480-363-8774 
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