Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul came home to Western New York to announce a grant to restore the historic Graycliff Manor. In total, $3.7M will go to the Frank Lloyd Wright designed structure, from the so-called Buffalo Billion II.

But the biggest question on the biggest chunk of the original Buffalo Billion remains: When does the solar cell factory at Riverbend go on-line?

The price tag on the massive South Buffalo plant is in excess of $750-million. When it opens, it'll be the largest solar panel factory in the western hemisphere.


When asked Monday, Hochul said: "We are moving full-steam ahead. Construction continues. We’re expecting to have workers on-site by the end of the Summer.”

Asked if that meant prior to September 21st when Summer comes to a close, Hochul replied: "I’m not going to give you dates. I would like to see it then, but the state funds this. We work closely with them to get the process moving, but there are some business decisions that have to be made, as well and we have to respect that.”

Earlier this year, Panasonic was brought in as a partner along with Solar City and Tesla. Panasonic with far more manufacturing experience is positioned to run the day-to-day operations at the Riverbend factory.

On it's website, a January press release also indicates a start-up in Summer 2017.

A staffer from Governor Cuomo's press office pointed out that Panasonic is hosting a "hiring event" in Buffalo later this month. Similar events have been held stretching back to late last year.