New role for Kodak
Rochester is also the birthplace and main manufacturing location for Kodak. The Greater Rochester Enterprise is promoting the conversion of Kodak's roll-to-roll film manufacturing facilities into thin-film solar-panel manufacturing plants.
"Kodak knows more about making thin films than anyone in the world," said Senall.
Rochester is also home to Exxon-Mobil's center for thin-film solar-cell development, as well as several thin-film support manufacturers, such as Bausch & Lomb, which makes the polymer membranes that are a critical component in fuel cells. Besides those companies, which are already gearing up to make thin-film solar-cell components, four other undisclosed thin-film solar makers are considering relocating to Rochester, Senall said.
In addition, the Cornell Food and Agricultural Center is located in Rochester and does extensive research in biofuels. Rochester is also surrounded by farms, which provide the fodder to four biofuel ethanol and biodiesel plants that have already committed $400 million to increase production capacity over the next two years, according to Senall.