Invention may brighten city’s future

Chelle Delaney

The gleaming corrugated glass in Robert Hockaday’s hand is an invention he’s worked on to convert energy from the sun.

To make the glass sheets in 2 x 2 foot sections, it will take dozens of railcars loaded with clear recycled glass. Hockaday is planning to manufacture them in Tucumcari.

Hockaday attended this week’s Governor’s Economic Development Summit at the Tucumcari Convention Center, where the Secretary of Economic Development Fred Mondragon said Hockaday’s company was proposing to open a plant in Tucumcari.

Hockaday’s company eQsolaris, which is based in Los Alamos, has teamed up with two Japanese companies Kyosemi and Mihama. Together they have a patent pending on the invention that Hockaday said is price competitive with fossil fuels.

In the meantime, Hockaday is talking with investors. His start-up project will be pilot project that is expected span over three years at a cost of $10 million, Hockaday said.

One of the first markets Hockaday said he expects to tap is the $500 million skylight market with his photovoltaci cells. The glass sheets will easily fit into the ceiling niches for skylights where it can produce enegy for homeowners.

The eQsolaris plant would initially employee about 75 people, Hockaday said.

In Tucumcari a planned industrial park northeast of Tucucmari Memorial Park Cemetery is conveniently adjacent to a rail spur, said Patrick Vanderpool, excutive director of the Greater Tucuncari Economic Development Corp.

While there is still further development necessary on rail facilities those improvements could come together at the same time as the development of the eQsolaris plant, Vandrpool said.

In addition, the state may also provide economic incentives through its partnership program, Vanderpool said.