December 5, 2013
Solar testing lab opening at Intertek
New facility lauded as way to spur green energy growth in state
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Intertek project engineer Anthony Steiner, left, and Intertek Global Business Leader Troy Hewitt look over the lighting system which gives off continuous light while testing solar panels.
POLKVILLE — Wednesday morning, Intertek and the Center for Evaluation of Clean Energy Technology (CECET) invited members of the renewables energy industry to a open house marking the opening of the facility’s new solar panel testing laboratory.
Intertek, located at 3933 Route 11, specializes in testing and inspecting products for the aerospace, pharmaceutical, food, electronics and telecommunications businesses; among other industries, and has 30,000 employees at 1,000 offices in 100 countries around the world.
The new laboratory, which will officially open in two weeks, will focus on the long-term and short-term study and testing of solar panels, or photovoltaic, or PV, panels in addition to providing clients with feedback on how to develop and improve their products.
Troy Hewitt, Intertek’s local business leader for wind energy, said the facility which is part of the existing building will help further the company’s mission to come up with new and creative ways to turn ideas into a reality.
Four jobs have been created and more are expected.
“We’re bringing in world-class talent that we have here in New York state,” Hewitt said, “and we’re able to find those problems that customers may have (and) help them with some of those solutions to some of those problems.”
CECET (pronounced ‘SEE-set’) is a member-based organization created by Intertek in 2010 that, with the help of state universities and Albany-based consultants AWS Truepower, aims to provide assistance to developers interested in the renewable energy industry.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA, provided the $4.3 million in funding which CECET put toward the Intertek lab in addition to another lab that opened last summer at Clarkson University in Potsdam, St. Lawrence County, which focuses on small to mid-sized wind turbine blades.
Members from all three organizations as well as state Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton and Oliver Koehler, CEO of the recently-formed New York City-based Integrated Solar Technology, which will be one of CECET’s first clients, took turns addressing the couple of dozen people in attendance Wednesday; all of whom applauded the new facility as a way to spur the growth of green energy technologies in the state.
Afterward, Sonny Rai, Intertek’s regional vice president for renewable energy, gave a tour highlighting the various types of equipment that will be used to conduct tests in the facility such as the electroluminescent camera, which takes “X-rays” of panels to search for defects and accelerated aging chambers that simulate different types of weather conditions.
NYSERDA is focused on developing solar energy in the state. Project Manager Jacques Roeth with NYSERDA’s Innovation and Business Development, said members of his organization as well as an external review panel of industry experts made the final decision to award funds to CECET and Intertek because they thought they could further that agenda.
“We think, ‘What’s the next big thing we can do to boost the economy on renewable energy in New York state in a positive way?’,” Roeth said. “Intertek was selected from quite a number of candidates and all of them felt that they were the right choice.”
Roeth added he believes that the collaboration between clients, experts and universities presents a unique opportunity for Intertek and CECET to create products that will give a much needed boost to the green energy movement in the state.
After the open house, CECET Executive Director Rich Lewandowski said he is optimistic about the potential the laboratory has to not only advance the state’s green energy initiative, but he believes Cortland County will become a magnet for future investors.
“This will be a draw for a lot of industries,” Lewandowski said. “Now that people know about it, we’re hoping to see more green energy jobs come into the area.”
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