BUFFALO - BUFFALO, N.Y. -- It had the feel of a general reviewing his troops.
Governor Andrew Cuomo flanked by Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz visited the SolarCity solar panel factory building in South Buffalo. It is massive. One million square feet topped by 23 acres of roof.
Workers at the plant were gathered so that Cuomo could thank them.
"This was literally a dream come true…and it was a dream that a lot people said would never happen and you built it on-time, on-budget because you are union labor," he said.
The rest of Cuomo's thank you was drowned out by cheers and applause.
The state of New York is nearing completion of the actual building. Next will be bringing in the machinery that will form the production line for the solar panel factory. So, it appears New York is living up to its end of the bargain of building and equipping what will be the largest solar panel factory in the western hemisphere.
If there are questions, they are about whether SolarCity will live up to its end of operating the plant.
The company is moving toward a merger with Tesla. But SolarCity is also facing serious financial challenges. It is on-pace to lose more than a billion dollars this year. And according to recent SEC filings, SolarCity will need to get its hands on another $5.9B before the end of of 2017. It's a daunting task for a company whose net value is roughly $2B.
Howard Zemsky, the man who Cuomo refers to as an "economic development genius", cautions against jumping to conclusions before SolarCity is producing solar panels.
"Solar City has almost two-billion dollar market capitalization. I think discussion about things like insolvency are off the mark,” Zemsky said.