Thursday, July 17, 2014

New semiconductor lab's other benefit: reuse

Posted By on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Yesterday's announcement that the state is going to build a next-generation semiconductor research and development facility in Greece is important.

Yes, it'll create jobs. Yes, it'll help companies build better, more efficient technology (and for an idea of just how important that is, consider the research showing that certain electronic devices, including cable boxes, waste a global total of $80 billion in energy a year).

But there's another easily-overlooked upside. The new operations at 115 Canal Landing Boulevard, which is now owned by the state, replace similar activity from Kodak. In fact, that's who the state bought the building from.

A year ago to the day, state officials announced that the property would be home to the new Photovoltaic Manufacturing and Technology Development Facility. Like the semiconductor facility announced yesterday, the new operation is part of the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. Officials say they expect the solar lab to create 100 jobs and the semiconductor lab to create at least 500.

Here's where the building's use comes full circle. Kodak used the Canal Landing site as a clean room for research and development work. That's what made the building attractive to CSNE, and the ongoing renovations at the building include an expansion of and upgrades to that clean room. That's important because the college could probably have built a new facility on undeveloped land in the region instead.

And the jobs it will create aren't just any new jobs. Last year, and again yesterday, state officials said that the Rochester region suits the sites because it has a work force trained in the skills needed to run the facility. These are technical jobs and, in the case of the semiconductor lab, they'll pay, on average, $91,000 a year.

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