Today Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was in Buffalo to break ground on the SolarCity GigaFactory facility, located at the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at RiverBend. The million-square-foot site will one day house a facility that will manufacture solar panels. It is anticipated that the project will create more than 3000 jobs in Greater Buffalo. Incredibly the project is slated to be larger than any similar production facility in the Western Hemisphere. As for solar power generated, the plant will deliver 1 gigawatt on a yearly basis.
“We said four years ago that we have to change the mentality of Buffalo, and every day since we have been working hard to continue this new energy and momentum in Western New York. Less than a year after announcing our original plan, one of the leading solar companies in the world is coming on board and making this the largest advancement for Buffalo’s economy in a generation,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is bigger than anything we could have imagined. It is the perfect metaphor for Buffalo, where the fundamental strength was the available hydropower. That hydropower now, that renewable energy now, will fuel the renewable energy industry for the future. I am incredibly proud that the state is playing a role in this project, because Buffalo’s future is New York’s future, and today that future is brighter than ever.”
Owned by the State University of New York’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, the project at hand is also a START-UP NY site. Since the original original unveiling of the project, anchor SolarCity (manufactures of high-efficiency silicon solar cells and modules) purchased Silevo (see story), making the initial news even more of an industry driver than was originally anticipated. It is also anticipated that SolarCity will be spending $5 billion over the next decade, which pretty much ensures that the anchor tenant will continue to be an industrial leader in the region. At the same time, as part of the Buffalo Billion, NYS will be infusing 750 million into the development (1.2 million square foot facility and equipment). The timeline for the project is said to be the first quarter of 2016.
SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive said, “Governor Cuomo shares our view that the United States can return to its place atop the world in advanced technology manufacturing. Thanks to the Governor’s leadership, we will be able to quintuple the output capacity and economic impact of Silevo’s original commitment. I couldn’t be more excited to partner with the state to make Western New York a global capital for clean energy development.”
Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, Chief Executive Officer and Officer in Charge of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, said, “This is a crowning achievement for Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative and his strategic vision to bolster New York’s burgeoning high-tech economy. Under the Governor’s leadership, the nanotechnology boom that began at CNSE in Albany has now spread clear across the state, creating tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investments. Partnering with a global powerhouse like SolarCity on such a tremendous scale solidifies New York’s reputation as a world leader in next generation technology development and establishes Buffalo as the epicenter for solar panel manufacturing. As we have seen at our other technology hubs across the state, this will spur significant additional growth and investment. We congratulate Governor Cuomo, SolarCity and the people of Western New York, who are truly the region’s greatest resource. We look forward to building the future together.”
Howard Zemsky, Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and Larkin Development Group Managing Partner, said, “We have the workforce and the universities that make Buffalo a great place for advanced manufacturing. RiverBend is a definitive sign of Western New York’s transformation and resurgence.”
Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-chair and President of the University at Buffalo Satish K. Tripathi said, “RiverBend brings our region the jobs of the future that will provide a new generation with another great reason to move or stay in the area.”
*The project development is led by LP Ciminelli as Construction Management along with: EYP, Project Architect; CHA, Civil Engineer; and M+W Group, Mechanical Engineer.