The state of New York will provide $750 million dollars for a huge solar plant in Buffalo Governor Cuomo announced this week. $350 million will go towards construction of a 1.2 million-square-foot facility and the remaining $400 million will be for equipment. The facility will be used by SolarCity and Elon Musk has pledged 5 billion dollars for the project, which could create 5,000 jobs in the state.
“This was I think the single-most exciting day I’ve had in Buffalo in four years. A lot of energy, a lot of positive energy, which is new for western New York and deserved,” said Governor Cuomo.
It is anticipated that about 3,000 of the potential jobs will be in the Buffalo area. One of the governor’s main reasons for investing in the enormous solar power manufacturing plant is helping to revitalize the Buffalo and upstate New York economy. The goal is to get the plant constructed and running by 2016. When operational, the plant will be one of the largest in the world.
The sound bite used to describe the Governor’s approach to boost the economy in Western New York has been the ‘Buffalo Billion’ meaning a billion dollars invested in the region to help stimulate long-term economic growth.
By investing in the SolarCity solar plant, it appears that the goal of attracting new business to the area was successful, “The Buffalo Billion initiatives, which currently total more than $380 million, mostly follow a similar strategy: Invest in facilities and programs that will help the Buffalo Niagara region stand out in a particular industry or provide long-term services and facilities that will help local businesses become more competitive and act as a magnet to lure firms to the region.”
There is also somewhat of a poetic historical connection. Buffalo was the first large city to have electric streetlights. The electricity came from the hydroelectric project built by Nikola Tesla at Niagara Falls. Elon Musk is the CEO of the Tesla electric car company and he is an investor in SolarCity. So having another renewable energy source located in the area seems fitting.