I’m in Georgia today to deliver the commencement address at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and I just finished a tour of the University Center of Excellence in Photovoltaics (UCEP).
With longstanding support from the Department of Energy, and under the direction of Dr. Ajeet Rohatgi , this Center at Georgia Tech has become a premier site for silicon PV research in the U.S. The company that evolved from this work – Suniva – is an American success story.
Suniva has created more than 150 clean energy jobs manufacturing high-efficiency silicon solar cells and modules, using technology developed at UCEP. Fifty of those jobs are the direct result of a clean energy tax credit that was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
America pioneered solar PV technology, and, as recently as the mid-1990s we had about 45 percent of the world market share, but we have let that lead slip away. Today, we have only about 5 percent of the world market. The U.S. needs to jump back into the clean energy race and play to win. That is the work we have started with investments like the Recovery Act and companies like Suniva. In fact, last year, Suniva exported more than 90 percent of its product to Asia and Europe.
This center and this company are powerful examples of how clean energy technology can drive job creation in the U.S. and increase our competitiveness.
Steven Chu is the Secretary of Energy