Tuesday, October 21, 2008

OP-TEC Supplemental Grant to Prepare for Precision Optics Technician Programs

I am pleased to announce that OP-TEC has received a supplemental grant from NSF
to explore the need and feasibility for a national, multi-year project to initiate college
programs to educate/train Precision Optics Technicians (POTs). The attachment
describes POTs, their roles in critical, emerging technologies—and in the defense
of our country. Based on preliminary research, there is strong demand for these
highly-skilled technicians but scarcely any capability in our nation’s colleges for
preparing them.

In this one-year effort, OP-TEC will quantify the need, develop the skill standard,
design a model curriculum, form 4-5 college/industry partnerships and identify a “lead college-industry partnership” to manage the multi-year project which will be proposed to NSF in fall 2009. OP-TEC will assist and support the follow-on work,but I believe it should be led by a community college/photonics cluster partnership, if possible.

Dan Hull
Executive Director

New OP-TEC Blog!

Keep up with what's happening in Photonics Education by visiting the new OP-TEC Blog today!
OP-TEC is pleased to announce their new OP-TEC Blog. This blog will allow OP-TEC to connect with you and disseminate up-to-date information on news and issues affecting Photonics Education. The blog will also collect feedback and information from you! OP-TEC will continue to post announcements to the website, http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001FJZqggrMW1d96IIozT_UZjsIuy7KsBrUETvfOWgZbAXo2r43bNyPm6ypknL4RvYbdHAqqVdfljVNFcjGYJngFBOiXrna7L8iyGgoFovkgOY=, and use the blog to get information to you more quickly.

We invite you to visit OP-TEC's blog today and read their first official post from OP-TEC's Director, Dan Hull. Please be sure and bookmark the blog site or if you prefer, sign up to follow the blog. The link to "follow this blog" is located in the bottom right-hand corner of the blog page. You can also subscribe to RSS feeds for the blog.

We hope you will visit the blog today and then check back often for new posts!Click here to visit the blog now!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

From bioOrlando: Governor Crist Names Senator Jeremy Ring Chair of Biotech Competitiveness Task Force

TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist today announced Senator Jeremy Ring as the chair of the Task Force for the Study of Biotech Competitiveness. Created by the 2007 Florida Legislature, the task force will study economic policies necessary for increasing Florida’s competitiveness in attracting and retaining biotech manufacturing and distribution businesses.

“The number of biotech companies that have chosen to establish a presence in the Sunshine State demonstrates our success in strengthening Florida’s attractiveness to the world’s top R&D organizations,” Governor Crist said. “We must continue to focus on ensuring Florida maintains a competitive edge, while securing the biotech industry’s key role in our economic development strategy.”

The 17-member task force will also evaluate Florida’s education and workforce training opportunities to ensure a workforce prepared for jobs in biotech. The task force will recommend changes to the state’s corporate tax structure, water policies and health insurance policies to ensure they support the biotech industry.

“Now more than ever we must rely on innovation to strengthen our economy," Senator Ring said. "Floridians should be proud of the investments made in biotech, to help assure long-term economic stability and growth.”

The task force’s recommendations are due to the Governor, Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives by January 1, 2009. The task force members – seven appointed by the Governor and five appointed by the each the President of the Senate and five by the Speaker of the House – will receive assistance from the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development.

About Florida's Biotech Business Hub

In December 2007, Governor Crist announced the creation of the Florida Max Planck Institute of Bio-imaging in Jupiter, followed by announcements of VGTI Florida’s expansion to Port St. Lucie in January 2008, the creation of the University of Miami Human Genomics Institute in February 2008. In July 2008, the Cambridge, Mass.-based Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc. announced plans to establish the BioMEMS R&D Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa and Multi Chip Module (MCM) Center in St. Petersburg.

Other biotech organizations that have established a research and development presence in Florida include the Scripps Research Institute, the Burnham Institute for Medical Research and Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies.

Source: bioBUZZ: News from bioOrlando - bioOrlando is a council ofMetro Orlando Economic Development Commission


UCF/CREOL Proposal for NSF "Partnership For Innovation" Program

The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has a program designed to promote innovation through partnerships among universities and industry. The NSF program is called "Partnership For Innovation". Information on the PFI program can be found at http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5261&org=IIP&from=home, and I have attached a brief synopsis of the program.

UCF/CREOL is preparing a proposal to the PFI program, in partnership with the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester and with the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona. Our proposal will be supported by other regional clusters and organizations such as SPIE and OSA, to build and begin operation of a network of photonics organizations that will facilitate photonics education and the rapid development and transfer of photonics technologies into a wide range of applications. The network we envision will contain universities, companies, professional societies, trade associations, and economic development organizations. I would like to include your company as a supporter of our proposal and as a participant in the network the program will build if we are successful in obtaining funding.

The funding from NSF for the PFI program is quite modest, so there would be no funding available in our proposal for your company. However, no funding from your company to UCF or the program will be required -- your contribution will be "in-kind" to the degree that the program supports your organization's objectives unless you would want to make a cash donation to the work of the project.

What I do ask that you consider is writing a letter of support for our proposal indicating your willingness to participate as a participant in the network that the proposed program will create. The schedule we are working to is as follows:

  • Letter of Intent to NSF -- Oct 31, 2008
  • Final proposal to NSF -- Dec. 31, 2008

All I need at this time is a letter or email from you indicating your willingness to support our proposal. If you can support us, I will provide you more information on exactly what we are proposing so that you can write a customized letter of support to go in the proposal.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of my request. I look forward to hearing from you.

James E. Pearson, PhD
Executive Director, Florida Photonics Cluster

Director, Research & Admin,
CREOL, The College of Optics & Photonics
& Special Asst. to the VP for ResearchUniversity of Central Florida
CREOL: (407)823-6858
Alt office: (678)455-3459

Cell: (407)451-2199

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Northrop Grumman Laser Systems becomes first Patron Sponsor member of the FPC!

When Northrop Grumman Laser Systems in Apopka, Florida renewed their FPC membership for 2009, they made an additional cash donation to become a Bronze Patron member of the FPC. This additional donation will help the FPC in its work of supporting the optics and photonics industry in Florida and in achieving its goals and mission. On behalf of the Board of Directors and all the members of the FPC, I want to express my appreciation to NGC/LS for their generosity and support of the FPC.

Alex Fong,
FPC President

Need Participants for Follow-Up Discussion on Photonics Technician Training Survey

Based on the results of our recently conducted a survey of companies to determine their needs for photonics technicians. It is clear that there is a significant need. But it is also clear that there could be great value in getting industry leaders together with the program leaders at the two Florida schools who have photonics tech programs: Valencia Community College and Indian River Community College, to discuss their current programs and exchange ideas on how to enhance them in both content and enrollment.

In addition to representatives from VCC and IRCC, Dan Hull from CORD/OP-TEC has said he will be glad to join our meeting, and Seminole CC may participate (they have indicated interest in possibly reviving their photonics program). The OP-TEC program at CORD is an NSF-funded program developing curricula and programs specifically for optics/photonics technicians. They recently received an additional NSF grant to add optical fabrication techs to their studies. Info on this program can be seen at http://www.op-tec.org/ Representatives from Workforce Florida and the Central Florida Development Council will also be invited to participate in the meeting (FPC members participate on the boards of these two organizations, which may be able to provide program development funds).

Would you, or appropriate other staff at your company, would be interested in participating in such a meeting? If so, please contact us by Monday 20 October so that we can complete the plans for the meeting.

James E. Pearson, PhD
Director, Research & Admin,
CREOL, The College of Optics & Photonics &
Special Asst. to the VP for Research
University of Central Florida
CREOL: (407)823-6858
Alt office: (678)455-3459
Cell: (407)451-2199

Florida Photonics Cluster in October 2008 Issue of SPIE Professional

The October 2008 issue of SPIE Professional (http://spie.org/x4274.xml), includes an article entitled "SPIE Supports Clusters" (page 9 of print version). The FPC's efforts are discussed as well as those of other clusters world-wide and SPIE's involvement. Here is an excerpt from the online version:

"Whether in Florida or Arizona or in numerous regions throughout Europe and Asia, members of optics and photonics clusters around the world are actively building and maintaining research and workforce ties to strengthen the industry.

A new Web site for photonics clusters (
spie.org/clusters) includes a comprehensive directory of 30 groups of optics-related firms and universities who network with local industry and government leaders, create jobs, and generally promote the benefits of a regional association of companies and institutions. SPIE also hosts a number of business and social gatherings at symposia to support these clusters. A cluster summit will be held at SPIE Photonics West in January 2009.

Study Shows Diversity of Development For Clusters

SPIE is distributing a study on developing photonics clusters, comparing four major photonics clusters in Germany, England, and the United States. It concludes that cluster boundaries and identities are often blurred because of the enabling character of many photonics technologies.
The 2007 study by AIM Research describes the varied ways a photonics cluster can be developed and sustained and notes that none were being led by a single "hub firm." Instead, they are collaboratively created and governed by a diverse group of mostly research firms, university research centers, and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The report is titled Developing Photonics Clusters: Commonalities, Contrasts and Contradictions and is available at no cost at spie.org/clusters

Cluster Meetings

  • A Cluster "Meet-Up" at SPIE Optics+Photonics in August brought a small group of optics educators and industry representatives together to discuss ways to enhance their political lobbying and public awareness efforts for optics and science.
  • The first European Photonics Clusters meeting at SPIE Europe Photonics Europe in France in April resulted in agreement among 55 attendees that most clusters could use some form of public funding, particularly for startup activities. European clusters have a diverse membership, with clusters oriented around a single specialized technology, and those that encompass the whole spectrum of optics in industry and academia.
  • The Florida Photonics Cluster (FPC) has expanded its services and announced a meeting and open house for 2 October where a seminar on online marketing and search engine optimization will be given. FPC president Alex Fong, vice president for marketing at Optronic Laboratories in Orlando, and FPC executive director James Pearson of the University of Central Florida report that 30 organizations are now members of the FPC. A podcast, "Shining a Spotlight on the Science of Light" is available on iTunes.
  • Representatives from Le Pôle Optique et Photonique Sud, the photonics cluster known as POPsud, met with SPIE leadership, volunteers, and others at the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM) in June during the SPIE Astronomical Instrumentation Symposium. Among those discussing the work of photonics clusters were SPIE President-Elect María Yzuel; Jacques Boulesteix, director of LAM and president of the Scientific Council of POPsud; François Flory, treasurer of POPsud; and Jean-Gabriel Cuby, also of LAM.
  • The New York Photonics cluster is hosting the 10th annual Glass Cartel Clambake 20 October in Rochester."

Source: SPIE

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast (EDC) - International Trade Grants

The EDC is offering two types of International Trade Grants funded through the State of Florida and Enterprise Florida (EFI) to Brevard County small to mid-size manufacturing and high-tech companies. The International Tradeshow Exhibition Grant Program will reimburse qualified companies for fees associated with exhibition in targeted international tradeshows. The International Trade Gold Key Service Grant Program Will provide companies a $700 grant for Gold Key Service through the U.S. Department of Commerce to qualified companies traveling abroad or participating in international tradeshows. Apply online today at: http://www.spacecoastedc.org/InternationalTradeGrants.aspx

The Florida Venture Forum: An Update From SRI and Their Plans For The Future in Florida

The Florida Venture Forum and TiE Are Proud to Present: An Update From SRI and Their Plans For The Future in Florida

Thursday, October 16, 2008
5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

With nearly 20 years of business development experience Peter Marcotullio serves as the Director, Business Development of the Engineering and Systems Division of SRI International. At SRI he directs market research and analysis; intellectual property management; commercialization and business strategy development; new venture creation; marketing; and mergers and acquisitions activity. His prior management experience includes various venture, business development and M&A positions with Thermo Electron's Ventures Group, Primex Technologies and Olin Corporation. Peter holds three patents with several more pending and has lead the creation of several SRI venture companies and serves on the board of directors of Artificial Muscle, Inc. Mr. Marcotullio holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. He has taken graduate and executive management courses at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and Stanford Business School. Mr. Marcotullio is also a graduate of the Defense Systems Management College.

Silicon Valley-based SRI International is one of the world's leading independent research and technology development organizations. Founded as Stanford Research Institute in 1946, SRI has been meeting the strategic needs of clients for more than 60 years. The nonprofit research institute performs client-sponsored research and development for government agencies, commercial businesses, and private foundations. In addition to conducting contract R&D, SRI licenses its technologies, forms strategic partnerships, and creates spin-off companies.

Join us for this unique and clarifying look into the Florida economy.

Special Guest Speaker:
Peter Marcotullio serves as the Director, Business Development of the Engineering and Systems Division of SRI International. At SRI he directs market research and analysis


The Citrus Club
1800 BB&T Bank Tower (Citrus Center)
255 South Orange Avenue
Orlando, Florida 32801

(Parking is available at the Citrus Center parking garage, accessible
off of Jackson Street)

5:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.Registration
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Presentation
7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Cocktail Reception


$60.00 per person in advance*
$70.00 per person at the door
*All No-Shows will be Billed

(813) 335-8116 by Tuesday, October 14, 2008

OP-TEC Report to Partners & Associates

OP-TEC successfully completed its first two years of operation on August 31, 2008. Much of the work in these two years was focused on “building the infrastructure” and strengthening the enrollment and capabilities of our Partner Colleges. A brief summary of our accomplishments is shown in the first attachment titled “Y2 Accomplishments”. Among the infrastructure accomplishments were the revision of the Skill Standards, preparation of Program Planning Guides, completion of curriculum materials and engaging our Employer Council.

You may recall that our last survey of employer requirements indicated that we need 1800 new photonics techs/year. We also conducted a study this summer to determine the capacity from all U.S. colleges. We have about 20 colleges, a total enrollment of 700 students, and about 200 completers per year. OP-TEC’s mission is to “close the gap”. Our strategies are to restore some declining programs, increase enrollment in current programs, add programs in other colleges and prepare our colleges to retrain existing workers.

The “Y2 Accomplishments” in our report shows that we are increasing enrollment in existing programs (item 1). Two new programs are being added (item 6). We have also provided information and presentations that have resulted in 270 colleges interested in adding photonics and 26 colleges beginning the planning process (items 2-4). To help “build the high school pipeline” and to train incumbent workers, we have developed hybrid, online courses that will be piloted in Year 3 (item 12).

Early in Y3, we will conduct a new employer needs assessment to validate or change our earlier estimate of 1800 techs/year (item 3). We are currently working through the list of interested colleges to encourage and assist them to begin planning to add photonics; our staff and Partner Colleges are providing technical assistance to those colleges in the planning stages. Our goal is 20 more colleges (item 3). We will also begin retraining of incumbent workers (item 5).

OP-TEC staff and Partner Colleges cannot accomplish our mission without your assistance and cooperation. We value the excellent support we have received to date from our Employer Council, the technical and educational societies, other colleges/related organizations, and individuals and equipment suppliers. Your advice, contributions, donation of exhibit space and sharing of secondary school science/technology posters and career information products have all been used effectively—and are greatly appreciated. This year, we also began working with the Photonics Clusters. I anticipate that these relationships will become even more valued in Y3, as we provide more support and encouragement to colleges that are planning new educational programs.

We are also pleased to announce that we have received a supplemental grant to begin the process to establish college programs to educate/train Precision Optics Technicians. I will provide you more information about this critical initiative in the near future.

On behalf of the entire OP-TEC and our Partner Colleges, we thank you, again, for working with us and supporting our mission. We look forward to our continued partnerships with you as we enter this important and productive Year 3.

Please call or e-mail M.J. Soileau (OP-TEC’s CoPI for Employers and Technical Societies) or me anytime you have questions or suggestions.


Dan Hull
Director of OPTEC
The National Center for Optics and Photonics Education

From the Florida High Tech Corridor Council: Draper 2008 Technology Exposition

As part of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council’s continued commitment to support companies and economic development partners across the Corridor, I wanted to make you aware of an upcoming eventthat is being supported by the Tampa Bay Partnership and the University of South Florida.

The Draper 2008 Technology Exposition will take place October 21-22 at the USF Research Park (3802 SpectrumBoulevard, Tampa, FL 33612). They will have scientists on hand withdisplays of some of their latest work in strategic systems, biomedical engineering, space systems, geospatial systems, tactical systems, energy initiative, special operations, and independent R&D.

Draper holds this event annually and because of its new BioMEMS Research & Development Center at USF and the MCM Center in St.Petersburg, they chose to hold their 2008 Tech Expo in the Tampa Bayregion.You can find further information about the event at www.draper.com or by contacting Rachel Ramos at 617-258-1462 or rramos@draper.com.

Randy Berridge

UCF Hosts 6th Annual Invention to Venture Workshop

News Release For Immediate Release

UCF Hosts 6th Annual Invention to Venture Workshop
Nationally Renowned Entrepreneur to Share Insight
Event Serves as Prelude to Weeklong Global Celebration of Entrepreneurship

(Orlando, FL) – The nationally recognized Invention to Venture (I2V) workshop is coming back to Orlando for the sixth consecutive year. The University of Central Florida and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), are partnering together to teach entrepreneurship basics, while helping to build networks and create a framework for moving fresh business ideas forward.

Over 200 attendees comprised of business, science and technology students and faculty, as well as members of the surrounding business community will converge to attend the Orlando workshop, serving as the prelude to Global Entrepreneurship Week, a week long celebration of entrepreneurship around the world.

Invention to Venture is scheduled for Friday, November 14, 2008, from 8:00am to 4:30pm, followed by a networking reception, at the Fairwinds Alumni Center at UCF. I2V is a program of the NCIIA with sponsorship from the Lemelson Foundation and the Kauffman Foundation. Local sponsors include the UCF Alumni Association, Myers & Kaplan, and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council. This year’s workshop will feature an exciting lineup that includes nationally and internationally recognized entrepreneur, Dean Monaco.

Dean Monaco began his career in banking and finance after graduating from UCF with a degree in accounting. He has worked for a number of Fortune 100 companies before venturing out on his own. In the last decade, Monaco has owned, operated and/or served on the Board of Directors for over 20 companies. As an entrepreneur, his business background has been very diverse, including everything from restaurants to technology. His business experiences have led him to work both on a national level, as well as internationally.

Monaco remains involved in his community and has received the Jefferson Awards for Public Service for his efforts in working with Charity Challenge for 16 years. He currently sits on the board for the charity which has raised over 5 million dollars since its inception. He is a lifetime member of the UCF Alumni Association and enjoys being a part of UCF’s future. Currently, Monaco is partnering with UCF, working with students and faculty in several start-up companies focused on the development of both his and others’ inventions in technology.

According to Monaco, “Some of the best lessons I learned as an entrepreneur were from failures. I hope to share that insight at Invention to Venture, as a way to inspire and encourage others to follow their dreams. I’m fortunate to be in a position now to become involved in the creation and building of companies, which is an energizing and positive experience. UCF provides a phenomenal support system for entrepreneurs and it just keeps gaining momentum.”

Invention to Venture is an introduction to the process and practice of technology entrepreneurship. Attendees will hear from real entrepreneurs, investors, and advisors on how to create a successful business around their technology idea or invention, through workshop activities and hands-on experience they can use the moment they leave the event. Topics include idea validation and opportunity assessment, sales and marketing, intellectual property, the management team, presenting the business plan, and financing your venture.

"UCF is excited to host the 6th annual Invention to Venture workshop in Central Florida," says Dr. Tom O'Neal, Associate Vice President for Research and Commercialization at the University of Central Florida and Executive Director of the UCF Incubation Program. “By partnering with the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), UCF is able to provide one of the best one day programs available to help emerging entrepreneurs understand the complexities of turning and idea into a business. I encourage any faculty, student, staff or community member with an interest in technology entrepreneurship to take advantage of this opportunity.”

I2V has been conducted at top colleges and universities such as: University of Maryland; University of Florida; Illinois Institute of Technology; University of California San Diego; Worcester Polytechnic Institute; and University of Southern Mississippi.

Invention to Venture will be held at the UCF Fairwinds Alumni Center, located at 4000 Central Florida Blvd, (Bldg 126), Orlando, FL, 32816. Early registration by October 15 is $8 for all Students, $25 for UCF Faculty/Staff/Alumni, and $35 for Others. After October 15th, admission is $13 for all students, $30 for UCF Faculty/Staff/Alumni, and $40 for others.

To register, please visit www.invention2venture.org/ucf. Contact Melissa Wasserman at (407) 882-2296 or via email at mwasserm@mail.ucf.edu for additional information.

National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA)
The NCIIA (http://www.nciia.com/) works with colleges and universities to create experiential learning programs that are intended to help nurture a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs who have strong technical and business skills as well as the tools and the ambition to make this world a better place. Invention to Venture workshops are conducted at universities around the country and feature a nationally recognized curriculum delivered by regional speakers from the business community.

University of Central Florida (UCF)
UCF is the university that seeks opportunities, creates opportunities, and brings them to
fruition. The university’s culture of opportunity is driven by the diverse people it attracts and
serves, its Orlando environment, its history of entrepreneurship, and its youth, relevance and
energy.. Visit
http://www.ucf.edu/ for more information.

(from L to R) Ron Eaglin, UCF professor and inventor, meets with Dean Monaco to discuss their next business venture "iseecards.com" at Wackadoo's (Monaco's successful restaurant venture in the Student Union at the UCF main campus)

UCF Office of Research & Commercialization
Contact: Christa Santos

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Career Opportunity at LightPath Technologies: Applications Engineer/Product Specialist

Applications Engineer/Product Specialist

LightPath Technologies is a recognized leader in optical solutions for industrial, defense, communications, test and measurement, and medical applications. For over 20 years, LightPath has built a strong portfolio of optical components and technologies that serve these industries. These products include molded glass aspheric lenses, optical isolators, fused fiber collimators, and gradient index GRADIUM® lenses.

We are currently seeking an Applications Engineer/Product Specialist to join our professional team in Orlando, FL!

Job Description:

This individual will act as the main technical contact for customers and field sales team for LightPath products including molded aspheric lenses, fiber collimators, and Gradium lenses. 

The Applications Engineer will have duties that include:

  • Visiting customer sites with Sales team and attend Trade Shows and exhibitions as the technical contact for customers discussions
  • Reviewing Technical Documentation and drawings for RFQs
  • Interacting with Engineering and production teams to issue Quotes based on customer’s requirements
  • Providing after sales support for optics and optical assembly products
  • Delivering Technical Seminars for customer education
  • Driving the development of new products based on market information

Job Requirements:

  • BS in Optics, Physics or other technical field with Optics Experience
  • Experience with Zemax or other optical molding software
  • Ability to interpret mechanical drawings and sales contracts
  • 3-5 yrs experience in Applications Engineering, Optical Manufacturing or Optical Design


  • Salary commensurate with experience
  • Exceptional company benefits offered

Please apply online!


SEIA: Federal Solar Tax Credits Extended for 8 Years, US Poised to Become Largest Solar Market in the World

Industry Leaders Forecast Dramatic Growth in the U.S. Solar Market by 2016 with Extension of Credit 

WASHINGTON – Today, by a vote of 263-171 , the U.S. House of Representatives passed historic legislation that extends the 30-percent federal investment tax credit for both residential and commercial solar installations for 8 years. This landmark legislation is part of H.R. 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, designed to address the U.S. financial crisis. It is the most significant federal policy ever enacted for the solar industry. President Bush has vowed to sign the bill into law. The Senate passed the bill on Wednesday night. 

“This bill is a major step in our long journey toward energy independence and ensures that solar energy will be a significant part of America’s energy future,” said SEIA president Rhone Resch. “This long-term extension of the solar tax credits will create a domestic solar industry with hundreds of thousands of jobs while providing clean, affordable, carbon-free energy to millions of American families, businesses, and communities.”

“On behalf of the 60,000 Americans employed by the solar energy industry, we would like to thank Leaders Reid and McConnell and Senators Baucus, Grassley, Cantwell and Ensign for their dogged support of the solar tax credit extension. In the House we are thankful to Leaders Pelosi, Hoyer, Boehner, and Blunt, and Chairman Rangel, Ranking Republican McCrery and Rep. Camp among many others who have long worked to bring solar energy to the mainstream. These leaders have broken through partisan politics and have provided a bright future for solar energy in the United States,” said Resch     

“By passing this bill, Congress has finally given the solar energy industry ‘policy certainty’ that will attract investment, expand manufacturing and lower the cost of solar energy to consumers,” said Roger Efird, SEIA chairman and president of Suntech America, a leading Chinese solar power manufacturing company. “This will allow companies like mine to move forward with expansion plans to serve the growing U.S. market.”

“This bill puts the sun to work for every American,” added Resch. “And by 2016, we expect solar energy to be the least expensive source of electricity for consumers.”

 The solar investment tax credit (ITC) provisions will:

  •  Extend for 8 years the 30-percent tax credit for both residential and commercial solar installations; 
  • Eliminate the $2,000 monetary cap for residential solar electric installations, creating a true 30-percent tax credit (effective for property placed in service after December 31, 2008);   
  • Eliminate the prohibition on utilities from benefiting from the credit;
  • Allow Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) filers, both businesses and individuals, to take the credit;
  •  Authorize $800 million for clean energy bonds for renewable energy generating facilities, including solar.

The solar tax credits were originally enacted in the 2005 and have created unprecedented growth in the U.S. The amount of solar electric capacity installed in 2007 was double that installed in 2006.

“Over the last 2 years, these tax credits have turned the solar industry from a small, cottage industry into an economic engine for America. Electricians, plumbers, roofers and construction workers can now get back to work. These jobs are the backbone of the American economy and the solar industry is creating them at a time when they are needed the most,” said Resch.     

According to a new economic study by Navigant Consulting, Inc., the 8-year extension of the ITC will create 440,000 permanent jobs and unleash $325 billion in private investment in the solar industry. This study did not factor in elimination of $2,000 monetary cap on the residential credit, so the actual job creation and investment could be even greater.

“This is a big boost for the residential market in particular, allowing homeowners to contribute to our nation’s energy independence,” said Efird. “It also opens the floodgates for building large, utility-scale solar power projects that need longer timeframes to complete.”

To date, there are 27 such utility-scale solar power projects totaling 5,400 megawatts of power in various stages of development; most were on hold due to uncertainty surrounding the expiring tax credits. 

Because solar energy components are manufactured near their markets, this extension will create manufacturing and installation jobs in all 50 states. The states that will enjoy the largest economic boost are California, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Washington.

Similarly, the economies of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and the rest of the Great Lakes region will grow significantly as a result of the extension. This area of the country has suffered greatly from a huge decline in jobs in the automotive and traditional manufacturing industries.

According to the same study, more than 28 gigawatts of electricity will be produced from solar energy by 2016 – enough to power more than 7 million homes. 

“Success has not come easy. It required a strategic campaign that included dedicated SEIA staff, a committed board, and active membership all focused on one goal. It took seven votes in the House and 10 votes in the Senate, but in the end, Congress came through. This effort has established SEIA as a major energy player on Capitol Hill,” said Resch. “We have a lot of opportunity in front of us and will be back next year to work on critical issues such as transmission infrastructure, renewable electricity standards, and combating global warming.”


Monique Hanis, 202-682-0556, ext. 4, mhanis@seia.org 
Jared Blanton, 202-682-0556, ext. 96, jblanton@seia.org

Mark Sokolove (Tiger Communications), 703-302-8382, mark@tigercomm.us

Background Resources:

About SEIA: Solar Energy Industries Association is the national trade association of 750 solar energy manufacturers, project developers, distributors, contractors, installers, architects, consultants and financiers. Established in 1974, SEIA works to expand the use of solar technologies in the global marketplace, strengthen research and development, remove market barriers, and improve education and outreach for solar. Learn more at www.seia.org