Renewable energy is becoming a larger part of Arkansas's economy. We are already known as a hub for wind manufacturing, and our colleges and universities are conducting cutting-edge research that will become the basis for new clean-energy industries in our State.
I recently attended the dedication of the University of Arkansas Enterprise Center, the newest component of the Arkansas Research and Technology Park in Fayetteville. The 65,000-square-foot facility provides a home for newly formed technology companies that have been created by university researchers. Here, the companies are developed into commercial businesses that create jobs locally while providing innovative products and services to the world. Already, four home-grown companies are expanding in the Enterprise Center. SFC Fluidics, NanoMech, NN-Labs, and Arkansas Power Electronics International are each developing amazing products in the fields of biomedical equipment, nanotechnology, and solar energy.
These companies demonstrate that Arkansas has the combination of educational resources and entrepreneurial spirit we need to become a global center for emerging technologies. As these companies grow and become a larger part of the Arkansas economy, another ongoing initiative is helping to advance the next wave of research-based business in the State.
The National Science Foundation recently awarded Arkansas $20 million to fund the second phase of the Advancing and Supporting Science, Engineering and Technology, or ASSET, Initiative. Working through the Arkansas Science & Technology Authority, this initiative will create competitive university-based research with the potential to launch new companies and create high-tech, high-paying jobs.
This money, paired with an additional $4 million from the State of Arkansas, will support research across seven university campuses over the next five years. This research will help advance cutting-edge technologies in the fields of solar, wind, and bio-based energy.
These research centers have the potential to dramatically change the energy picture in Arkansas, and the Arkansas economy and Arkansans will benefit from that change. Arkansas was recently prominently featured in the magazine, Photon, a solar-industry publication. The article highlighted our Renewable Technology Rebate Fund, which provides tax incentives for residential installations of solar and wind energy.
The magazine also highlighted Arkansas's potential to expand our solar production and manufacturing industry in the same way our wind-manufacturing industry has grown over the last several years. I plan to apply the same approach we used to attract wind manufacturers to the State to lure solar companies here from around the globe.
Research is not always an easy sell. It requires a significant up-front investment without a guarantee of specific results. But it is under such conditions that great discoveries are made, and these improve our society and our way of life. Arkansas has a role to play in the new technology of renewable energy. Through dedicated research and the continued development of a skilled workforce, we will take our place in the forefront of new-technology industries. Our work will bring new discoveries, and new jobs, to Arkansas.