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Chinese solar panel company visits ASU, SkySong


May 07, 2007
The pollution and costs associated with traditional methods of energy production are key factors that are opening the doors for the use and development of alternative methods of energy production. The use of sunlight to produce energy and the high number of sunny days in Arizona are putting the state and ASU in the spotlight of national and international companies that want to expand their research and business opportunities in the solar energy industry.

Fscreen, an important and fast-growing corporation in the solar panel production industry in China, will be the first Chinese company partnering with ASU at SkySong, the ASU-Scottsdale Center for Innovation and Technology. It will be Fscreen's first office in the United States.

The ASU facility in Scottsdale is designed to attract knowledge workers and corporations from around the world to create a working community that will integrate academia with commerce.

Fscreen executives and officials from the Chengdu Hi-Tech Development Co. recently had a rigorous three-day visit organized by ASU's Office of Economic Affairs. The delegates met with local business leaders, and ASU faculty and researchers, to further the dialogue on new partnerships and collaborations.

“ASU can help Arizona to be a leader in solar energy research and development by cultivating the top solar energy companies from around the world – producing cost-effective and reliable renewable sources of energy is good for the state and world environmental quality,” says Yimin Zhang, president of Chengdu Fscreen Sci-Tech Co. Ltd. “It also is a growing business that we hope to profit from.”

“Fscreen has a new technology that is appropriate for Arizona 's climatic conditions,” says Govindasamy Tamizh-Mani, director of ASU's Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory (PTL). “They will be successful for two reasons: time and location. This is the right time to be in the solar energy business, and Arizona is a great location for Fscreen's product because of Arizona's plentiful sunshine.”

ASU's Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory is the only accredited lab of its kind in the United States. Fscreen is expected to use PTL's services to test the quality and durability of its new solar products.

“Fscreen will be a great addition to the SkySong community, because it will enhance the innovation center as a global place for business,” says Rob Melnick, ASU's associate vice president for economic affairs. “It also will provide the ASU community with an opportunity to work with an international company in the fields of engineering and marketing.”

The Chinese company produces solar panels that are about 20 percent less expensive to produce than more traditional solar panels. It is designed to create 30 percent more output power than traditional solar panels.

“Most solar panels available today are designed to work in locations where sunlight may or may not be always available,” Melnick says. “The solar panels created by this company, however, optimize the use of solar energy in locations were sunlight is abundant, like Arizona .”

ASU is developing relationships with institutions, businesses and entrepreneurs in Singapore, Ireland, China, Mexico and Germany as part of its strategy to make SkySong a place where global businesses will locate and interact with Arizona companies and university innovators. Phase 1 of SkySong is expected to open this fall.