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.”