Kodak’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week did not surprise or worry the solar researchers renting space at Kodak labs and using Kodak machinery.
New Jersey-based Natcore Technology began renting space at Kodak’s Eastman Business Park in Rochester, N.Y., late last year and is doing research and development work on cutting-edge new solar technology there.
“This was not a surprise to anyone,” Natcore CEO Chuck Provini said of the Chapter 11 filing.
“We are merely tenants of the Eastman Business Park,” Provini said. “This is a 1,200 acre facility that once employed more than 30,000 Kodak employees. This facility was repurposed and currently has 6,200 employees, half of which still work for Kodak while the other half work for 35 other tenant companies, of which Natcore is one.”
He said the company pays its own utilities directly.
Natcore Technology has found a way to use its research to quickly commercialize cutting-edge Black Silicon technology developed by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Natcore is working on a bigger solar technology, using liquid phase deposition and quantum dots to develop a more efficient solar cell at a lower cost.
In the process of developing that next generation solar PV, researchers realized that a piece of their work might be the only remaining element needed to bring NREL’s technology to market.
While Kodak’s Chapter 11 filing did not surprise Provini, he said the company’s securing of $950 million in financing from Citibank did.
“It is reported this financing will see them through at least 18 months of reorganization,” Provini said. “The financing is also intended to have them operate normally during that period of time.”