Bucking the trend, at least for a day, Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) participated in a publicity event on Monday to celebrate the success of a government-backed solar energy initiative. Gibson spoke at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University of Albany to announce a deal to keep 17 solar energy research jobs. The research center hopes to boost an effort to develop “thin-film” solar cells to be built in a 18,000-square-foot manufacturing facility near the campus. Speaking at the event, Gibson applauded the investment, but failed to credit how much of the money was authorized:
“Today’s announcement continues our region’s growth as the next place for 21st Century technology. This facility will preserve existing jobs and ensure that our area remains at the forefront of research into clean energy technologies that are so vital for our future. I applaud CNSE’s efforts to invest in our local communities and look forward to continuing to work with them to expand public-private partnerships here in Tech Valley.”
Earlier this year, the research center received a $5 million grant made possible in part by President Obama’s Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus. During the election last year, Gibson made the stimulus a campaign issue and blasted his Democratic opponent for supporting such a “failed” policy.
The solar jobs are also made possible by the SunShot Initiative, a Department of Energy program started by the Obama administration to spur solar energy technological developments.
A recent ThinkProgress investigation found at least 60 Republicans writing letters to Secretary Steven Chu to request clean energy grants and loans for favored companies.