BUFFALO, N.Y.-- Close to 3,000 jobs are expected to come to Western New York once the South Buffalo Riverbend facility is fully operational.
The solar panel factory is expected to start production within a few months, run by the company, Tesla, in partnership with Panasonic and SolarCity.
Panasonic's specialty is in creating actual photovoltaic (PV) cells. They will be used, in part, to create new roof tiles, which were debuted last year by Tesla and SolarCity. Sales of the panels did very well; So well, in fact, that Tesla is already sold out well into next year. Tesla wants to start manufacturing new roof tiles as soon as possible, which Panasonic can help with through their expertise.
"Honestly, we love the partnership with Panasonic," Howard Zemsky, President & CEO of Empire State Development Corp., said. "I think you're really starting to see that pay dividends. We love that it's now Tesla, which is really the leading clean energy company in the world."
Combined, the companies will produce a gigawatt of solar capacity each year by 2019.
Crews are still installing equipment in the Riverbend facility, while also waiting on some of the last pieces to arrive from Asia.
As many as 500 manufacturing jobs would make up part of the 3,000 new jobs overall for this region, along with sales, research and development and supply positions.
We're told some positions have already been filled, and others will come online as production ramps up.
We've reached out to SolarCity, but could not confirm an an exact start date for production.
A source says according to the company's official filings, the plant should be up and running by the third quarter, or within the next couple of months.