A solar company that promised to create between 600 and 1,000 jobs as the first tenant of Genesee County's STAMP manufacturing park is not coming.
Officials with 1366 Technologies announced the change of plans on Friday — with CEO Frank van Mierlo saying the company would look to build overseas instead.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo had called the project a "game changer" when it was announced in October 2015. The Bedford, Massachusetts company planned to build a $700 million plant at the Western New York Science Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park, aka STAMP, near Batavia, bringing up to 1,000 jobs in the first five years.
An opening was envision in 2017. But problems emerged over the past year. The project was very much predicated on a $150 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy that didn't materialize, officials said.
“While it has always been part of our strategic growth plan to build factories around the world, plans to scale internationally have accelerated following our recent and difficult decision to withdraw from the loan guarantee agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy," van Mierlo said in a statement. The decision, which was driven by the need to conduct a lengthy and expensive renegotiation without any indication of the outcome, directly impacts our plan to build a New York plant."
The state committed up to $56.3 million in incentives and up to 8.5 megawatts of low-cost hydropower for the project. None of that money was disbursed, as the money was to be paid out as reimbursement based on 1366 hitting milestones toward completion.
“New York State's commitment to 1366 Technologies was contingent upon their securing additional financing, and since they have withdrawn from their DOE loan agreement, we won’t be able to move forward with the project at this time,” said Empire State Development spokesman Jason Conwall.
As for STAMP, state officials said there are negotiations ongoing for other tenants but none thus far committed.
“Though our first factory will be outside of the U.S., we continue to believe in the high potential of U.S. manufacturing," van Mierlo said. "A U.S. factory remains in our strategic plan, and we’re pursuing that opportunity with a more efficient financing structure. (Genesee County) will be the first place we call.”