Tesla ‘ s New York solar factory making other products in bid to employment

(Reuters) – Tesla-Inc on Wednesday said the solar factory in Buffalo, New York, would be the “production-house” for the electric car Supercharger cabinets and other energy storage products if it wants to meet the employment objectives tied to state aid.

FILE PHOTO: A worker is seen outside of the Tesla Inc. Gigafactory 2, also known as RiverBend, a joint venture with Panasonic to produce solar panels and roof tiles in Buffalo, New York, united states, 2 August 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/ File Photo

The company announced in an annual report of the state of New York, in which it said it had exceeded its duties and obligations as investment until now. But the company needs to add hundreds more workers in New York to meet next year’s goal.

Tesla has 329 employees in the factory and about 300 others elsewhere in the country, the report said. It was required to have at least 500 employees in the state on April 30 of this year in exchange for $750 million in grants for the Buffalo facility, which is known as the RiverBend factory.

By this time next year, it must employ 1,460 workers in the state, including 500 in the factory, according to Empire State Development, the state of economic development of the poor.

Tesla also said that it has invested $381.9 million in aggregate in the state of New York as of April 30, including $179.3 million in the previous year.

“We are willing to invest in Buffalo, and the State,” Tesla said in a statement via e-mail.

Tesla’s manufacturing partner, Panasonic Corp., has about 400 employees at the Buffalo plant. It was not immediately clear whether these commands are included in the count in the direction of the meeting state goals. Panasonic produces solar cells and assembles the panels in the factory of Tesla and others.

“We are pleased that Tesla is reporting that it has exceeded its job and investment commitments,” Pamm Lent, spokeswoman for Empire State Development, said in a statement via e-mail. “In the coming weeks, ESD will perform the necessary due diligence to verify the data provided by Tesla.”

Tesla’s plan for the manufacture of solar energy products in New York has come under scrutiny as the company drastically reduced the AMERICAN solar energy company acquired in 2016 with the $2.6 billion purchase of SolarCity.

At the moment, the planned use of the plant to a breakthrough product called the Solar Roof, an energy system designed to look like ordinary roof tiles. But the product is much slower to come to market than promised, and Panasonic is shipping most of the cells originally intended for the Solar Roof to customers in foreign countries. Panasonic has also sought other customers for the Buffalo-made panels.

Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by James Dalgleish and Tom Brown

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