Left: High efficiency Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) cell based on semiconductor nanotechnology.
Above: The sun provides enough energy in one hour to meet our energy needs for an entire year.

Myth busters from Ottawa cleantech sector tackle perceptions that American cities offer better homes for international companies

OTTAWA, Ontario

While the Obama administration calls for higher taxes on American businesses already paying an average of 33.9%, Ottawa and all Ontario businesses will be paying 16.9% by 2012

When international cleantech companies consider expansion to North America, the typical choices are New York, Boston, Washington and San Jose. The City of Ottawa, Canada’s Creative Economy Capital, is working to change that perception in 2010 with an endorsement from Richard Florida, Martin Prosperity Institute Director and author of the international best seller Who’s Your City? Florida rates Ottawa as the “Best Overall” city in Canada on a “Creative Class Index” based on the 3Ts of economic development – Technology, Talent and Tolerance – and 22 places higher than New York, 2 places higher than Boston, 4 places higher than Washington and 1 place higher than San Jose.

Further, a Knowledge-based Industry Survey released last week by the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) shows Ottawa’s fledgling cleantech sector is the strongest of any of the city’s 13 unique technology clusters. The number of cleantech companies is up from 103 companies to 114 as of December 31, 2009, an increase of 10.7 per cent over the previous year, and the number of Ottawa’s cleantech employees is up from 2,050 to 2,567, an increase of 25.2 per cent.

One of Ottawa’s cleantech stars is VC-backed Cyrium Technologies Inc. Founded in 2002, Cyrium is developing high efficiency solar cells for the concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) industry. Also founded in 2002, Group IV Semiconductor Inc. is another Ottawa cleantech company on the rise. The company received $3.6 million last month from the Province of Ontario’s Innovation Demonstration Fund to help expand its fabrication facility at Carleton University and complete technology development for a new generation of low-cost solid-state light bulbs that will use up to 90 per cent less electricity than regular bulbs and last much longer.

“Ottawa is going after cleantech opportunities more aggressively than ever before,” said Claude Haw, President and CEO, OCRI. “We have carefully built Ottawa’s value proposition for the cleantech sector with four American benchmark cities in mind. From our superior Creative Class Index rating to housing prices to smog days to healthcare costs, we handily beat out New York, Boston, Washington and San Jose. And where the rubber really hits the road – business taxes – Ottawa and Canada are becoming low-tax havens in North America while the Obama administration has proposed to tax an additional $400 billion from businesses in its latest budget plan. We’re North America’s ideal city for relocation or expansion of international cleantech businesses, and Canada’s Creative Economy Capital.”

“I wholeheartedly agree Ottawa is an excellent North American location to establish and grow a cleantech business,” said Harry Rozakis, President & Chief Executive Officer of Cyrium Technologies Inc. In our case we were able to utilize the National Research Centre’s (NRC) $150 million Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (CPFC) facilities during the incubator stage of our business. Thanks to this support , we have moved into the commercialization stage of our business and just released our QDEC (Quantum Dot Enhance Cells) product line which delivers high performance concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) cells offering CPV systems manufacturers average efficiency levels of 40% at >500-1000 suns on a standard 10mm x 10mm cell, outperforming all commercially available high-efficiency concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) cells on the market today.”

With 78,000 employees in its 1,850-company technology sector, Ottawa is Canada’s national capital city and is also home to a recession-buffering public sector. As the country’s fourth-largest city with a population of 900,000, Ottawa’s predominant languages are English and French, but many others are spoken on the streets. About 25 per cent of the city’s residents are born in other countries, and more than 20 per cent of residents are visible minorities. Ottawa’s natural environment is another important part of its identity. The city has 850 parks that contribute to Ottawa’s green character, and many are home to some 45 major arts and cultural festivals that take place throughout the year.

About OCRI

Leading the way for Ottawa, OCRI is the city's economic development agency. OCRI is the rallying point to bring business, education, research and talent together to create the winning economic conditions that allow Ottawa's knowledge-based companies to thrive locally and compete globally. At OCRI we promote sustainable economic development to maintain our high quality of life.

For more information on OCRI visit our website at www.ocri.ca and for more information on the Ottawa Region please visit www.ottawaregion.com. In 2010, Ottawa was named one of the world’s top seven intelligent communities by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF).

For more information please contact

Michael Darch
Executive Director, Global Marketing
OCRI
Phone: 828-6274 ext. 271
Email: mdarch@ocri.ca

Kim Cunningham
Manager, External Communications
OCRI
Business: (613) 828 6274 ext. 256
Cell: (613) 851 0768
Email: kcunningham@ocri.ca

Shaun McLaughlin
Conversation Architect
market2world communications inc.
Phone: 613-256-3939
Email: shaun@market2world.com

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