Binghamton University receives funding for solar power research center


BINGHAMTON, NY -- Binghamton University officials today joined U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Representative Maurice D. Hinchey to announce $4 million in funding for the University’s Center for Autonomous Solar Power (CASP). The latest addition to the University’s existing New York State Center of Excellence in Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging (S3IP), CASP will focus on tapping into the sun’s immense supply of renewable energy and make it easily accessible as a flexible, large-area and low-cost, power source.

“We are very grateful to Senator Schumer and Congressman Hinchey for their support in securing this funding and for their continuing support of the University,” said Binghamton University President Lois B. DeFleur. “This is an exciting investment in the University and yet another step in the advancement of the Center of Excellence and its research. It is vital that we look at long-term future energy generation from solar power and Binghamton University is the right place to do just that. Drawing from our strengths in small scale systems integration and in flexible electronics, this University is committed to finding renewable and alternative energy sources, not only for this generation but also for those to come.”

The goal of CASP is to address the scientific challenges of reducing the cost of solar power and enhancing energy efficiency, which will be crucial in bridging the technology and commercialization gap. Functioning as a multidisciplinary center, CASP will draw 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. 

CASP will also work with industry to develop new technologies for defense, energy, aerospace, consumer, and industrial markets by specifically focusing on solar power sources integrated with new product designs. Potential applications include transportation communication systems, power generation for buildings, and devices that will charge cell phone and laptops without the use of batteries.

“We all feel the pinch of rising energy costs and as a society, need to explore alternatives,” said Seshu Desu, dean of the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, and CASP Director. “At the Watson School, our faculty and students are working on addressing the greatest challenges of our technology-intensive society and harnessing low cost alternative energy sources is at the forefront of our priorities.”

Building on the expertise of the S3IP, which incorporates the Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing (CAMM), and the Integrated Electronics Engineering Center (IEEC), Desu plans to develop thin film large area low cost solar modules. 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. Using a sustainable model that demands that the individual device will generate much more energy in one year than it takes to manufacture, CASP researchers will be able to develop new and cost effective applications that create tremendous economic development and commercialization opportunities for Greater Binghamton and New York State.

Last Updated: 9/17/13