Empire State Development on Solar City's Planned Opening

Zemsky: "I think they're just really trying to take care of business"

Mike Baggerman
July 12, 2017 - 3:00 am

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - On Monday, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said that officials hope Solar City's Riverbend Plant will open "by the end of the summer", but couldn't provide a specific date for an opening.

The Tesla-owned Solar City was created through the $750 million subsidy through the Buffalo Billion and is intended to create solar roofs which officials believe are in great demand.

Governor Andrew Cuomo was asked about what is currently happening at Solar City but deferred his response to Empire State Development's President Howard Zemsky, who defended Tesla about being quiet about plans.

"They're very careful about wanting to misstate something," he said. "Because of what I have said that they are installing things, automation, there aren't many solar panels made in the U.S. so they have to get it right. I think they loathe to say one thing and then do something else."

Zemsky said Tesla and Panasonic are simply trying to take care of the business side of operations. 

The company recently announced their intentions to hold job fairs for Solar City, the first of which began Tuesday night in West Seneca.

"They're obviously installing a lot of equipments and wouldn't be holding the exercise of job fairs for no good reason," he said. "That's what I see happening. I think only they can say what their plans are, but in reality nobody can say with certainty when A, B, and C are going to happen for sure."

He added that the demand for solar energy is increasing and the future will feature more homes using the technology both nationally and internationally. 

"We love the partnership with Panasonic," he said. "I think you're really starting to see that pay dividends. The fact that it's now owned by Tesla, the leading clean energy company in the world. I think that combination of the market cap and the depth and breath of manufacturing experience is bringing itself to bear on that facility. We feel very good about the direction."

LISTEN: Howard Zemsky discusses Solar City

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