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Solar panel testing lab starting in Cortland

New York’s attempt to jump into the renewable energy market took a big step forward on Wednesday.
Cortland (WSYR-TV) - New York’s attempt to jump into the renewable energy market took a big step forward on Wednesday.

A public private consortium housed at Intertek Labs in Cortland is putting a solar panel testing facility on line this month.

"The thinking out there is all the solar modules in Florida and Arizona or California or something, but there is a significant amount of design, inventions and installations that go on up and down the East Coast," explained Sunny Rai, the Regional Vice President of Renewable Business with Intertek.

The international testing giant Intertek, with the help of New York State, brought back the solar panel testing it started in 2005 in Cortland before it moved to California and overseas.

CECET, as the consortium is called, has the tools to do a variety of testing and is also tapping into the talent on Upstate University campuses.

"We have a lot of expertise and part of this and CECET is bringing all that together, being able to offer it to the market in a coherent package and get things done more efficiently," said Troy Hewitt, Energy Group Manager with Intertek.

The goal is to attract manufacturers to New York because the facility gives them a place to test panels.

"One of the biggest things the industry is seeing these days, not just certification, but the biggest issue they're running into is performance degradation, because modules have been out there a few years now and they're starting to see certain degradation," Rai explained.

"This is just a start. It expands capabilities that we already have, starts to reach into that other area, but there's a lot of area's to go from here, a lot of new capabilities to add," Hewitt said.

With the best panels now fewer than 20 percent efficiency, Intertek say there is still much room for growth.

Intertek says the facility will start with its first commercial customers in the next two weeks.

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