- SolarCity has begun construction on its new one gigawatt RiverBend solar module manufacturing plant at a former Republic Steel plant site in South Buffalo, New York.
- The factory is expected to provide 3,000 direct jobs and 1,400 indirect jobs. In addition to $750 million in state funds, SolarCity plans to spend $5 billion on the plant, including payroll and operating expenses over the next 10 years.
- Manufacturing of Silevo high-efficiency solar modules is expected to begin by Q1 2016.
RiverBend will be the biggest U.S. solar module manufacturing facility in the U.S. and one of the biggest in the world.
The SolarCity project is the biggest single piece in New York Governor Cuomo’s upstate New York economic development efforts and is expected to generate further growth in the stagnant rust-belt region.
SolarCity expects the 21% efficiency of the Silevo module, significantly higher than standard modules' 18%. The company hopes that the economies of scale obtained by the plant’s enormous capacity will drive costs down and increase its leadership in the national solar installation market.
SolarCity will establish an R&D center that will share facilities between the SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany and RiverBend.