Dallas-Based Skyven Technologies Named $1 Million Grand Prize Winner - Will Expand Business to the Southern Tier; Grow Southern Tier's Clean Energy Economy

August 16, 2017

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the six winning companies of the 76West Clean Energy Competition, one of the largest competitions in the country that focuses on supporting and growing clean-energy businesses and economic development. Skyven Technologies, a solar heating company from Dallas, Texas, has been awarded the $1 million grand prize, and will expand its operations in the Southern Tier. The competition complements "Southern Tier Soaring," the region's comprehensive strategy to generate robust economic growth and community development.

"New York is setting a national precedent in growing clean-energy businesses and battling climate change, and this momentum continues with the 76West Competition," Governor Cuomo said. "Skyven Technologies and the rest of the winners from this competition will bring jobs and economic growth to the Southern Tier and beyond, ensuring that New York remains at the forefront of the new clean energy economy."

A total of $2.5 million was awarded to six innovative companies from New York and across the United States. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul announced the winners at an awards ceremony in downtown Binghamton today, joined by more than 100 elected officials, entrepreneurs and local business leaders. The event also named a $500,000 winner and four $250,000 winners.

As a condition of the award, companies must either move to the Southern Tier or establish a direct connection with the Southern Tier, such as a supply chain, job development with Southern Tier companies, or other strategic relationships with Southern Tier entities that increases wealth creation and creates jobs. If the companies are already in the Southern Tier, they must commit to substantially growing their business and employment in the region.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, "Modeled after the wildly successful 43 North business plan competition, 76West is another example of creative economic development strategies spurring start-ups in the industries of the future. Incentivizing clean energy innovation in the Southern Tier through this competition is further evidence of Governor Cuomo's commitment to creating even more jobs and opportunities in this region of the State. Investing in renewable energy and other clean energy solutions also ensures a cleaner environment and stronger economy for future generations of New Yorkers. Congratulations to all the 76West winners who are bringing their business and clean energy technologies to the Southern Tier."

The 76West winners are:

$1 million grand prize winner

  • Skyven Technologies - Dallas, TX: uses solar heating techniques to reduce fossil fuel consumption in agriculture and other industries

$500,000 award winner

  • SunTegra - Port Chester, NY (Mid-Hudson Valley): develops solar products that are integrated into the roof to provide clean energy and an alternate look to conventional solar panels

$250,000 award winners

  • Biological Energy - Spencer, NY (Southern Tier): provides technology that increases wastewater treatment capacity while reducing energy use
  • EthosGen - Wilkes-Barre, PA: Captures and transforms waste heat to resilient, renewable on-site electric power
  • SolarKal - New York, NY (New York City): provides a brokerage service to help businesses simplify the process of going solar
  • Visolis - Berkeley, CA: produces high-value chemicals from biomass instead of petroleum, which reduces greenhouse gases

The second round of the 76West Competition was launched in December 2016 and received applications from around the world, including Switzerland, South Africa and Israel. Of these, 15 semifinalists were chosen and participated in a marathon pitch session on July 11, at Alfred State College. Judges selected eight finalists, who then pitched their companies to a different panel of judges on July 13, in Corning, New York with six winners being selected.

In addition to announcing the 76West winners, Lt. Governor Hochul recognized Binghamton for being the first city in the Southern Tier designated as a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The Clean Energy Communities initiative recognizes municipalities that complete four of 10 high-impact clean energy actions. To earn the designation, Binghamton converted all city street lights to energy efficient LED technology, installed an electric vehicle charging station, completed energy code enforcement training, and streamlined the approvals process for local solar projects. The city is now eligible to apply for $250,000 in grants to fund additional clean energy projects.

NYSERDA administers the 76West Competition which supports New York's nation-leading Clean Energy Standard which will ensure that 50 percent of the state's electricity comes from renewable energy by 2030, under the comprehensive Reforming the Energy Vision, a strategy to build a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. 76West fosters cleantech economic development and leadership and expands innovative entrepreneurship in the Southern Tier.

New York State Energy and Finance Chairman Richard Kauffman said, "We're thrilled to see so many entrepreneurs and different types of start-up companies involved in the 76West Competition and interested in joining the robust community of the Southern Tier. Under Governor Cuomo, all New Yorkers stand to benefit from these clean technologies that are being developed and brought to the marketplace and I look forward to watching the winners of the 76West Competition grow and help New York build its clean, resilient and affordable energy system."

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, "The 76West Competition builds on Governor Cuomo's commitment to the Southern Tier by supporting an entrepreneurial community that is integral to New York's thriving clean economy. I congratulate all of the finalists on their success in this competition and I look forward to seeing each them continue to grow in the Southern Tier."

This is the second year of 76West, a $20 million competition and support program administered by NYSERDA that will run once a year from 2016 to 2019. Each year applicants compete for a $1 million grand prize, a $500,000 award and four $250,000 awards. In total, 76West will provide $10 million in awards and $10 million for business support, marketing and administration through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the Clean Energy Fund.

The six winners from the first round announced last November, have already integrated themselves into the Southern Tier, raised $20 million in private capital for future growth, and created new jobs.

New York State has made a significant investment in the Southern Tier to attract a talented workforce, grow business and drive innovation. It is already home to nation-leading companies and universities which are spurring innovation and leading global research. Now, with the addition of New York's six new 76West winners, the Southern Tier is quickly becoming a leading region for clean tech development and a model for other regions across the state and nationally.

Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Tom Tranter, President & CEO of Corning Enterprises and Harvey Stenger, President of Binghamton University said, "76West is helping the Southern Tier to soar by attracting top-notch entrepreneurs to the clean energy sector and creating jobs in the region. The effort is adding momentum to our region's ongoing revitalization. Thank you to Governor Cuomo, NYSERDA and to all of our government partners for creating this competition that is resulting in exciting opportunities for the Southern Tier."

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and President of SolEpoxy Inc., Jeff Belt said, "It's exciting to see the role entrepreneurs are playing in growing New York State's clean energy sector. I congratulate the winners of the 76West Competition who know what it takes to build the clean, resilient and affordable energy systems of the future."

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and President of the State University of New York at Fredonia, Dr. Virginia Horvath said, "76West provides the funding to take many of the brilliant ideas that are being developed at academic institutions to the next step. The cleantech competition keeps some of the brightest students living and working in our state, which is committed to reaching its clean energy goals."

State Senator Fred Akshar said, "I'd like to congratulate all of the finalists and winners of the 76West Clean Energy Competition, especially our Southern Tier finalist Biological Energy. Our region needs economic development, job growth and clean energy - which is exactly what the 76West Clean Energy Competition and Southern Tier Soaring are working to accomplish. I applaud everyone's hard work and am very impressed by the thoughtfulness and innovation of the people of this great state."

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, "Innovation has always been the key to economic development in the Southern Tier. The 76West Competition continues this tradition by helping grow the clean energy sector in our state and adds to our region's ongoing revitalization. I'm looking forward to seeing the positive results that 76West continues to produce across New York."

Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring
Today's announcement complements "Southern Tier Soaring" - the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. New York State has already invested more than $4.6 billion in the region since 2012 to lay for groundwork for the plan - attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Today, unemployment across the state is near the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like the Southern Tier as a destination in which to grow and invest.

Now, the region is accelerating "Southern Tier Soaring" with a $500 million investment through New York's Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The state's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

To learn more about REV, including the Governor's $5 billion investment in clean energy technology and innovation, please visit www.ny.gov/REV4NY and follow us at @Rev4NY. 


The 76West Clean Energy Competition is proudly powered by Skild.

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