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Published on September 27th, 2014 | by James Ayre


Elon Musk Building Another “Gigafactory” In New York State

September 27th, 2014 by  

Elon Musk will soon be building what amounts, essentially, to another “gigafactory.” This one will be in New York State as per a recent agreement with the government there.


Or course, to be clear, this “gigafactory” will be manufacturing solar PV modules, not lithium-ion batteries. But why not call it what it is? A manufacturing plant that will produce more than a gigawatt of solar panels a year is a gigafactory, right?

The recent agreement entails that SolarCity (the beneficiary) will receive a generous incentives package comprising $750 million in tax breaks and cheap power deals in exchange for the company building a production facility in the state, as well as a new R&D facility.

With incentives like that it’s easy to see why SolarCity settled on New York state for its plans. The move follows relatively closely on the heels of other big moves made by the company, including the high-profile purchase of the high-efficiency solar manufacturer Silevo for $200 million a few months ago, and the setting aside of large amounts of cash for the transition to a vertical-integration business model.

According to those in the know, SolarCity expects to spend $5 billion over the next 10 years on manufacturing and installation in the state. So, it is a substantial, serious, investment — certainly not a token move.

The recent moves are part of the company’s strong push to lower customer costs and to fuel expansion/growth. As SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive noted in a call with investors awhile back: “Anything that will reduce our total installed cost, we will be interested in acquiring.”

This move certainly fits those requirements.

Greentech Media provides more information:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Buffalo today to help officially break ground on SolarCity’s plant. The governor’s office said that 2,850 jobs would be created through direct construction and local supply agreements. SolarCity said that it would create another 2,000 jobs in New York over the coming years through expanding solar installations across the state.

By getting into solar manufacturing, SolarCity hopes to guarantee a steady supply of panels to install “tens of gigawatts” of solar per year in the US SolarCity executives also hinted at integrating inverter manufacturing at the site.

Another day, yet another big move in the Elon Musk/SolarCity/Tesla Motors world, and a positive one for New York State, it seems. What comes next?

Image Credit: SolarCity 

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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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