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Natcore Tech Puts R&D in Rochester, NY

After a four-month search, Natcore Technology Inc. has decided to establish the Natcore Research and Development Center at Eastman Business Park in Rochester, NY. The Rochester location was selected over several other finalists throughout the country.

Natcore currently conducts its research at three locations: Ohio State University, Rice University, and its joint venture in China. That work will now be consolidated in Rochester, although Natcore will continue its funded joint research program with the Barron Group at Rice. The R&D Center will enable Natcore to accelerate its development of thin-film solar cells and tandem solar cells using the company’s proprietary liquid phase deposition (LPD) technology. The thin-film cells could halve the cost of producing solar energy. The super-efficient tandem cells could double the power output of today’s most efficient commercial solar cells.

The Natcore Research and Development Center will be staffed initially by eight people. Dr. Dennis Flood, Natcore’s Chief Technology Officer, will soon begin to interview chemists and chemical engineers, electrical engineers, materials scientists, and technicians to fill those jobs.

Natcore signed a lease yesterday for dedicated office and laboratory facilities that will comprise two equipped labs, a clean room and administration offices. It will also house the first production model of Natcore’s intelligent LPD processing station for growing an antireflective (AR) coating on silicon wafers in the process of manufacturing solar cells. The Natcore Center will be located in Building #82 of the Kodak Research Laboratories at Eastman Business Park. Natcore is funding the Center with the proceeds of a December 2010 private placement.

Natcore continues its search for a site and partners to research, develop and manufacture thin-film solar cells using the company’s proprietary LPD process. Eastman Business Park is being considered for that facility, as are Chinese and other foreign alternatives. Like Eastman, all have considerable history in the manufacturing of roll-to-roll photo film. The final decision in this case will rest on the availability of funding.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter has been instrumental in attracting the research facility to Rochester. Mrs. Slaughter has arranged a meeting today at which city, county and state officials and business leaders will work with Natcore to assess possible programs to help fund the development of a manufacturing operation at Eastman Business Park. As an alternative, Natcore may seek financing from joint venture partners.

“We chose Rochester for several reasons,” said Natcore President and CEO Chuck Provini. “It will give us access to Kodak’s considerable prowess in thin-film technology and much of the infrastructure we will require. In addition, we can tap expertise at Rochester’s distinguished universities. And then there was the persistence of Mrs. Slaughter and Mike Alt, who were invaluable partners in our efforts.” Mr. Alt is Director of Eastman Business Park.

“We are certainly pleased with Natcore’s decision to locate its R&D Center at Eastman Business Park,” said Alt. “Our site is a good fit for Natcore from a technology and infrastructure perspective.”

“I’m delighted to know that after months of negotiations, Natcore has decided to bring their Research and Development Center to Eastman Business Park,” said Mrs. Slaughter. “I am happy to do everything I can to assist in this partnership and hope this is just the beginning of green jobs coming to Rochester.”

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