Solar Photovoltaics and LED Lighting Set to Attract Major Funding

Attracted by a $1 trillion cleantech opportunity and the world's largest category for venture capital investment, economic development executives from Berlin, Ottawa and Tucson are gathering today in San Francisco at the Photonics West trade show. Their objective is to focus collective photonics research and commercialization resources at opportunities in cleantech, including solar photovoltaics and LED lighting applications.

According to the Cleantech Group LLC, cleantech is now the largest category for venture capital investment in the world, accounting for 27 per cent of all venture capital based on Q2, 2009 numbers, and global demand for clean technology solutions is estimated at $1 trillion. Further, a November, 2009 Ernst and Young survey confirms that cleantech spending is largely immune from the global economic slowdown, with 85 percent of 308 executives working across all industry sectors planning to accelerate their company's response to climate change issues compared with two years ago.

“Clearly there is green in the greening of photonics,” said John Grabo, Director of Business Development for the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park. There are currently 200 photonics companies in Berlin, 107 in Ottawa and 210 in Tucson. Our cities are also home to several of the world's leading academic and institutional photonics research labs, and our intent is to both collaborate and capitalize on the cleantech opportunity.”

To that end, Berlin, Ottawa and Tucson have banded under the umbrella of the Global Advantage international business development network at Photonics West to discuss ways to create more linkages between photonics and cleantech. Grabo and his colleagues from Berlin and Ottawa will be hosting a Global Advantage breakfast to establish cleantech photonics connections among their governments, research universities, research parks, business incubators, and technology companies.

Examples of such collaborations include: Berlin's solar star, SOLON SE, opening a manufacturing subsidiary in Tucson; and a memorandum of understanding on joint research in photonics between Carleton University in Ottawa and the University of Arizona. The three cities also work together on Soft Landing Programs for their respective companies managed and fostered by the Science Parks of Berlin and Tucson, and Ottawa's OCRI.

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