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Tonawanda tests solar panels, Schumers seeks $100 million for solar research

Ford in Europe
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Tonawanda is looking at solar panels for DuPont - but not literally looking AT solar panels.

Matt Glynn reports at the Buffalo News that the Town of Tonawanda is testing DuPont solar panels, to see how they work in the cold, cloudy north:

DuPont Apollo's amorphous, or thin film, silicon solar panels typically have been installed outside the United States in southern climates, with higher temperatures, different sun angles and lacking harsh winters. The Town of Tonawanda project will give the technology a chance to prove itself in weather conditions common to the Northeast, a region that [developer Daniel] Montante described as a growth target for solar energy development. DuPont says its full-scale 10-kilowatt amorphous silicon panel system can generate 10 percent to 20 percent more electricity in a year than a typical 10-kilowatt solar panel system. It says the panels are more effective at converting the sun's energy into electricity at dawn and dusk, as well as on cloudy days.

Senator Chuck Schumer is also looking to invest in solar, with a $100 million grant from the Department of Energy, reports Katie Nowak at the Troy Record.  Schumer says the funds would help the Albany region and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering become a center of solar expertise.

New York has a new program to incentivize home and business owners to use solar power to create hot water reports Larry Rulison at the Times Union.  The program, run by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, will grant up to $4,000 for homes and $25,000 for businesses or nonprofits.

Natural gas

Organized labor in the Town of Owego is staunchly opposed to a gas compressor station, reports Jon Campbell at the Press & Sun-Bulletin, citing concerns about non-New York firms receiving contracts:

In a radio advertisement on several stations in the Greater Binghamton market, a narrator reads: "The natural gas industry constantly talks about all of the local jobs that would be created by the expansion of natural gas in the area. Right? Wrong." "Imagine, a West Virginia contractor taking profits and paychecks out of our area each work week," the narrator continues. An Owego-based regional branch of Kansas City parent company Inergy LP, CNYOG is contracting with MEC Construction on the $32 million project. The Bridgeport, W. Va., contractor specializes in building gas-transmission facilities.

Eric Jaffe at Infrastructurist has a review of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's call for more safety regulations around oil and gas pipelines.

Pollution prevention

The Rochester Institute of Technology's Pollution Prevention Institute has picked up $2 million in state funding for applied research into reducing environmental impact, reports Nate Dougherty at the Rochester Business Journal.

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