A Southern Tier company has won a $1 million award for its efforts to grow business while reducing negative environmental impact. 

The Horseheads-based company Micatu was the grand prize winner in this year's 76West Clean Energy Competition, aimed at progressing clean energy business in the region.  Micatu produces optical sensors for highly accurate real-time grid monitoring -- so utilities can reduce energy use.

 "We're going to actually invest this to hire more people, bring in more high-tech jobs, help us with R&D (research and development) -- and put all of this money back in to help us grow, which always comes back four-fold to the Southern Tier," said Mike Oshetski, CEO of Micatu Inc.

A total of $2.5 million was awarded on Wednesday at Binghamton University's Innovative Technologies Complex.  Out of 175 applicants in the competition -- six were chosen as winners.

Below are the five other businesses that received prizes:

  • Charge CCCV (C4V) (Binghamton, NY): $500,000
    • Produces energy storage batteries with longer lifetimes to reduce costs.
  • ChromaNanoTech (Binghamton, NY): $250,000
    • Produces dye that blocks invisible radiation in windows to reduce air conditioning loads.
  • DatArcs (New York City, NY): $250,000
    • Software that reduces the energy consumption of data centers.
  • Global Thermostat (New York City, NY): $250,000
    • Captures carbon dioxide and purifies it for industrial manufacturers.
  • BessTech (Troy, NY): $250,000
    • Makes silicon-based pieces to make energy storage batteries cheaper, fast charging, and more environmentally friendly.

Both ChromaNanoTech and C4V are part of Binghamton University's Start-Up Suite.

The $20 million competition and support program is run by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The contest website says it will run for four one-year competition cycles from 2016 through 2019.  According to state officials, in total it will provide $10 million in awards and $10 million for business support, marketing and administration through the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative and Clean Energy Fund.

Officials say it’s in support of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy to build a clean, resilient and reliable energy system for all New York residents -- and say it advances the state's effort to have 50 percent of its electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2030 under Cuomo's Clean Energy Standard.

Cuomo's Office says 71 applicants in this year's 76West competition were from Southern Tier businesses, 70 from other regions in the state, 23 from other states, and 11 were international.

State officials say applications for the 2017 competition will start being accepted on Thursday, December 1.  Those interested can apply here.

To see competition rules and details, click here.