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May 2000

NYSERDA Contract to Automate Fresnel Optics, Inc. Operations; $528,000 Cuts Production Costs, Supports NY Solar Energy Industry

ALBANY, New York — May 24-Fresnel Optics, Inc., a Rochester solar lens manufacturer, will automate their large format and solar lens manufacturing process, in cooperation with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The $528,000 contract aims to automate production and reduce large format lens costs by as much as 50%, in order to maintain the New York manufacturer's dominant global market position.

Fresnel solar concentrators focus the suns rays onto the photovoltaic (PV) cells which covert light to electric energy. Similar to the effect of a magnifying glass, the sun's focused rays reduce the amount of expensive solar cells needed to produce a given amount of electricity. This project will integrate a new control system and automated materials handling system for molding large lenses used in large PV arrays.

"This is a great example of how NYSERDA helps develop energy resources, not only for New York, but made right here in New York. Our contribution of $264,000 to the overall project will help Fresnel Optics develop the tools needed to stay competitive in a growing large solar concentrator lens market," said NYSERDA President, F. William Valentino. "We need this kind of high tech industry to keep our economy growing, and the end product, clean renewable energy, benefits our environment, too," he said.

Fresnel Optics, Inc. General Manager, Bryan K. Parks, said: "The employee owners of Fresnel Optics are excited to receive this contract." Mr. Parks indicated that the contract will help the company update its large (30" to 40" diameter) lens production to match the efficiency gains already realized in there smaller (2" to 20" diameter) lens processes. "Production of large lenses on our presses will become much more efficient, allowing us to remain globally competitive," he said. "The major technical risk associated with the project is developing a cost-effective process for producing a Fresnel lens array having the steep facet geometry required for this application," Parks noted.

Fresnel Optics expects to maintain its current work force and projects growth of solar cell lens sales by a factor of 10 over the next five years. With this projected growth, five additional jobs are likely over the period.

Fresnel Optics, with over 35 years of technical experience, is a subsidiary of Reflexite Corporation, an employee-owned ESOP company. Using precision tooling and microreplication technology, Fresnel Optics produces microstructured plastic optics for a variety of applications, including Solar Energy, Display Systems, Lighting Applications and other imaging and non-imaging applications. For more information, visit

This is just one of dozens of projects funded by NYSERDA to improve energy efficiency, benefit the Stat's environment and encourage economic growth. NYSERDA, a public-benefit corporation, helps develop new energy and environmental programs and products, including the New York Energy $marts SM program. NYSERDA's funding comes from the State's investor-owned utilities, a voluntary contribution from the New York Power Authority and limited NYSERDA funds.

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