New York Governor Takes Part In Topping Off Ceremony For SolarCity Gigafactory

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Originally published on Solar Love.

The much ballyhooed SolarCity “Gigafactory” under construction in Buffalo, New York, recently saw a new milestone passed in its development — with the “topping off” ceremony for the 1.2 million-square-foot facility recently taking place, and seeing the attendance of a wide range of important figures.

As part of the ceremony, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed one of the steel beams used in the construction of the large facility at the RiverBend site in South Buffalo — a facility that is expected to enter service in the first quarter of 2016, and to create over 5,000 jobs in the state. Considering that the construction on the project broke ground just 11 months ago, the new milestone suggest that things are running smoothly and are on track.

Once completed, the SolarCity facility is expected to be biggest of its like in the whole of the western Western Hemisphere — altogether possessing 1 gigawatt (1,000 megawatts) of annual solar capacity once at full capacity.

“Today, Buffalo has reached a new high,” Governor Cuomo stated. “On the gravesite of the old economy, where Republic Steel once stood, now rises a beautiful monument to Buffalo’s future. This community built back from difficult conditions and hard times, and now, as the new RiverBend takes shape, it has become a national model of resurgence. This project shows the heart and skill and ability that made Buffalo great, and I am proud to be joining you as we move forward into a brighter future for Western New York.”

Now that the core and shell of the facility is finished, work is set to begin on the interior — which will see the installation of various types of solar panel manufacturing equipment. To give a better idea of what the above-stated 1 gigawatt capacity means, the facility is expected to produce roughly 10,000 of Silevo’s high-technology Triex solar panels per day once at full capacity.

The CEO of SolarCity, Lyndon Rive, commented: “Governor Cuomo, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and the citizens in Buffalo are making history for clean energy today. We are especially grateful to the construction crews whose tireless work will enable us to complete our manufacturing facility on time.”

Congressman Brian Higgins had some interesting words to say as well: “The rising of SolarCity along the Buffalo River represents the new Western New York, one that embraces our manufacturing roots and trademark dedicated workforce but evolves to meet the demands of today’s economy. More than one hundred years ago Buffalo earned the nickname ‘City of Light’ as one of the first cities turning water into power. Now, as home to SolarCity’s manufacturing hub, Buffalo is again at the forefront of clean power production, turning the sun’s energy into economic opportunity.”

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James Ayre

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.

James Ayre has 4830 posts and counting. See all posts by James Ayre

18 thoughts on “New York Governor Takes Part In Topping Off Ceremony For SolarCity Gigafactory

  • SolarCity’s latest quote for installing Solar PV system in Northern California is $5.10/Watt!!! This is stratospheric retail price. We are not NASA!!!

    • Where are you getting this number? Based on your habitual animosity towards Tesla / Musk / etc., I’m not holding my breath in anticipation that your source will be legitimate. Most people are seeing $2.30 – $3.50 per W. The only way $5.10 / W makes sense is if it’s a cherry-picked case that’s out in the middle of nowhere or has an unconventional roof.

      • Not cherry picked. This is their rate for under 5KW systems. 4KW system price recently quoted in San Jose and Palo Alto – around $21K installed before any rebates.

      • I am in Davis, California. We have concrete tile roof. The quote of Solar City as of 08/11/2015 was also $5.10/Watt before incentives. Will show SolarCity’s contract that we have rejected if CleanTechnica is willing to publish it here.

        • Our system is 8.58 KW and costs $43,750!!!

          Sungevity is quoting $4.50/Watt for a 6 kW system. SunRun is quoting $3.99/Watt for a 7kW system.

          What’s happening here? Are the Solar installers in collusion with each other? M
          Am waiting for quotes from other local companies in Sacramento.

          Most probably will buy solar panels from and have it contracted out for installation by licensed local contractors for a total of $2.75/Watt using top of the line panels.

          • I sent you an email and it was rejected. Connect with me on Facebook or LinkedIn or email me if you want to proceed with this.

          • If you are willing to go that route please check out this site I have no stake in them. They also provide installation service and consistently quote installed prices of under around $3/watt for 8-10 KW systems. Off course this will incur more hassles as you will have to manage the project but if you have the time and knowledge this is the way to go. No installer can do under $3/watt installed yet in CA.

          • I did 10KW myself for $1.44, a year later I added 20KW more for $1.09. If I it today it would be under $1. DIY is the way to go if you can find someone who knows electricity.

            Prices are post 30% credit I should add.

        • Happy to. Can include it in an upcoming piece on the matter. Will email you in a moment.

      • I am only against the overhyping of Tesla Fan Boys. Overall I haven’t lost hope that Elon Musk is able to deliver on his promise of mass affordable Tesla car, worth $35K ready for retail by 2016 for their touted 2017 year Model 3.

        SolarCity likewise are presenting different numbers to what they report as average price for various solar trade magazines than what they actually quote their customers. They use strong arm tactics in their aggressive quotes. For example, from their contract:

        “To cancel this transaction, mail or deliver a signed and dated copy of this cancellation notice, or any other written notice, or send a telegram to SolarCity Corporation, Document Receiving, 6611 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Unit 200, Las Vegas,NV 89119 NOT LATER THAN MIDNIGHT of the date that is THREE BUSINESS DAYS from the date you signed the

        Telegram? Are they weird or what? Why use telegram at this internet age??? You are only given 3 business days to cancel a project from the date you electronically sign them and you must mail it. And there is no way that you can mail the cancellation notice within 3 business days using ordinary mail. Will have to file a complaint with BBB for such practice.

        So tell me, can you provide a copy of the contract that is showing SolarCity’s quote of $2.30-$3.50/Watt before incentives? I can show you MarTams’ SolarCity contract for a house in Davis.

        • they give you 72hours cool-off?
          Nice, in Oz you get 24hours afaik..

    • We have a piece coming that you will love, and vindicates much of what you have said (regarding SolarCity).

    • Baffling.

      A reputable local installer will do a 5 kW system for € 1.20 per W, ex VAT. (Plus perhaps a few 100 to connect the inverter to your distribution panel, depending on the house).

      I’m used to going DIY and can get it on my roof for less than a euro per W.

      • DIY depends on local laws.. not possible everywhere or just in conjunction with a willing license holder + some cans of beer 😉

        • Haha, not so in The Netherlands. Unless you live in a historic city center or monument, you can place the panels without any permissions. Keep the beer for yourself 😉

          • So you don’t have rules for potential lethal electricity installations over there – something along the lines of >60VDC/AC requires a licensed/trained electrician?
            Come on..

        • Not aware of anywhere in the US where you can’t DIY solar. I did my own.

          • Weren’t there counties that needed the council to approve of any PV installations on your roof if visible from the street?
            Over here in Oz we have rules for the mounting that needs a license holder to sign off on (might be just for grid connected systems – would have to check), but in cyclone areas this might be needed for all. And then we have the Wiring Rules that tell you if you do anything over 60VDC/AC it needs to be done by a licensed electrician (and not knowing the rules doesn’t protect you from legal issues if you broke them).

            So yeah, semi-DIY is possible even here, but you need to know some license holders to do it if you want to be safe – any failure/accident and your balls (together with your savings and income) are on the line for 100% of it 😉

            PS: simple example.. your PV system comes off in a storm as did everybody elses in the street and damages neighbor property.. have fun dealing with the insurance (either your own or the one of the affected party) by telling them that your installation was up to standard – you can’t prove it.

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