Giga New York

  (Redirected from Gigafactory 2)

Tesla Giga New York (or Gigafactory 2)[2] is a photovoltaic (PV) cell factory leased by Tesla subsidiary SolarCity in Buffalo, New York. The factory, owned by the State of New York, was built on brownfield land remediated from a former steel mill. Construction of the factory started in 2014 and was completed in 2016–17.

Giga New York
Large white sign, with red letters spelling "TESLA", in the parking lot of a long, low building.
Sign at factory entrance
Giga New York is located in New York
Giga New York
Location of Giga New York
BuiltSeptember 2014
OperatedAugust 2017
LocationBuffalo, Erie County, New York, U.S.
Coordinates42°51′32″N 78°50′24″W / 42.859°N 78.840°W / 42.859; -78.840Coordinates: 42°51′32″N 78°50′24″W / 42.859°N 78.840°W / 42.859; -78.840
IndustryEnergy generation and storage
ProductsPhotovoltaic cells, Solar panels, Solar shingles
Employees1,500[1]
Address1339 South Park Ave, Buffalo, NY 14220
Owner(s)State of New York

In 2013, the site of Gigafactory 2 was planned as a clean energy business incubation center. As SolarCity acquired Silevo in 2014 and merged into Tesla two years later, the factory was planned. The factory, in a partnership with Panasonic, started limited assembly of photovoltaic modules in 2017 using imported Japanese PV cells. It began commercial production of modules in 2017. In 2018, SolarCity began production of individual solar cells.[3] In late 2019[4] or early 2020 Tesla began commercial installation of version 3 of its "Solar Roof" product.[5]

By early 2020, Tesla had increased the number of employees at the factory to 1,500; soon afterwards, Panasonic plans to leave the solar partnership at the factory.[1] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employment at the factory decreased in the first half of 2020.[5]

Early historyEdit

 
The large Republic Steel mill that occupied the site before Tesla
 
Gigafactory under construction in 2015

BackgroundEdit

Republic Steel and Donner Hanna Coke operated a steel mill along the Buffalo River on the 88-acre[6] South Buffalo site from early in the 20th century to its closing in 1984.[7] As a response to the regional manufacturing downturn related to deindustrialization in the Rust Belt, the State of New York created an economic stimulus package, later dubbed the "Buffalo Billion", providing $1 billion in unearmarked economic investments for the Buffalo area.[8][9] In 2013, Cuomo announced the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Hub at Riverbend, targeting the Republic Steel site, then a brownfield, for the development of a clean energy business incubation center that was to be funded with $225 million from the Buffalo Billion fund.[10] At the time, the two companies announced as tenants were lighting manufacturer SORAA and solar panel manufacturer Silevo, which promised 475 jobs.[11][12] Development of the site would be managed by the SUNY Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, now SUNY Polytechnic Institute.[10]

In 2014, SolarCity detailed plans to acquire Silevo for $200 million,[13] subsequently scaling up plans for the Buffalo gigafactory. The company outlined a construction timetable and hiring goals promising an eventual 3,000 jobs in Buffalo with 5,000 statewide, and $5 billion in economic activity. The new plans abandoned the research center design in favor of the construction of a 1.2 million square foot factory. As a result, the state increased the incentives offered to $750 million.[14]

Construction and openingEdit

Ground broke in September 2014. The facility was completed in late 2016 and was furnished with equipment through 2017. As of August 2017, production of solar panels had begun at the factory.[15]

RationaleEdit

 
Tesla Solar Roof, produced at Gigafactory 2

Before Tesla and Panasonic began their partnership in Buffalo, Panasonic already had 30 years of experience producing solar panels.[16] Because SolarCity incorporated the manufacturing process that Silevo had intended to use for production, the partnership allows Tesla to outsource production and reduce its burden on debt.[17] The technology used incorporates nanotechnology, an emerging sector in upstate New York that colleges and universities such as SUNY Poly and Erie Community College have developed programs and research in,[18] with the latter offering semiconductor and nanotechnology programs specifically for employment at the gigafactory.[19] The facility also takes advantage of tax incentives and leasable space from the State of New York. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also suggested that the company's solar panels could be helpful in humanitarian crises, such as rebuilding the electric grid of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.[20]

In 2015, Solar City's CEO, Lyndon Rive, a cousin of Elon Musk, stated that the new facility would be key to creating a clean energy-manufacturing market, adding that expansion would not be possible at the Riverbend plant, but more likely in the immediate area.[21] While SolarCity operated a production facility in Fremont, California, the Gigafactory provides capacity for 10,000 solar panels per day, equivalent to one gigawatt per year.[22]

OperationsEdit

The factory began production of solar cells in 2017,[23] and assembly of photovoltaic modules for solar panels, under Panasonic.[3] In January 2018, Tesla announced, after testing on employees' roofs, that it would begin installing its new product on commercial customers' homes "within the next few months".[24] Tesla delayed mass-production of the Solar Roof because of its focus on the ramp up of the Tesla Model 3 and development of a third version of the Solar Roof; in October 2019, it announced that version 3 of the Solar Roof was ready to begin production and ramp up installations over the next several months.[4] By early 2020 Tesla began commercial installation of version 3 of the Solar Roof product.[5]

By November 2018, the factory employed over 800 people.[25] By early 2020, Tesla had increased the number of employees at the factory to over 1,500 and had also begun to produce charging equipment for its Supercharger network at the factory; Panasonic planned to discontinue its solar partnership at the factory by May 2020.[1] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employment at the factory decreased in the first half of 2020, as Tesla Solar product installations declined. Tesla decreased the prices of its Tesla Solar products to boost sales, and the company has requested and received another year, until 2021, to meet its hiring goals.[5]

CriticismEdit

The project has faced criticism and legal actions regarding allegations of inflated job promises, cost overruns, construction delays and bid rigging, that the deal was, in effect, a bailout of Musk's cousins Peter and Lyndon Rive, in addition to a perceived lack of effort from Musk.[26][27][28][29]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Hanley, Steve. "Tesla Now Has 1,800 Employees In New York, Panasonic Quits Gigafactory 2 In Buffalo (The Solar One)", cleantechnica.com, February 28, 2020
  2. ^ Musk, Elon [@elonmusk] (January 25, 2020). "Going with nomenclature of Giga [most widely understood location name] vs Giga #, so Giga Shanghai, Giga Nevada, Giga New York & Giga Berlin" (Tweet). Retrieved January 26, 2020 – via Twitter.
  3. ^ a b Robinson, David (August 31, 2017). "6 things to watch as Panasonic gears up to start production". The Buffalo News. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Kolodny, Lora. "Tesla releases a new version of Solar Roof tiles, aiming to revitalize its clean energy business", CNBC, October 25 2019
  5. ^ a b c d Robinson, David. "Analysis: Tesla's solar slump is proof of the pandemic's destructive power", Buffalo News, July 23, 2020
  6. ^ "RiverBend". buffalobillion.ny.gov. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  7. ^ Sisson, Patrick (April 1, 2016). "A Gigafactory Is Rising in Buffalo, And It May Change the Solar Energy Industry". Curbed. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  8. ^ "Cuomo upbeat about NY's future (with text, highlights of speech; video of Saland)". The Daily Freeman. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  9. ^ "Governor Cuomo Outlines Plan to Continue Building a New New York by Growing the Economy, Reinventing State Government, and Advancing New York as a Progressive Leader". Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. September 28, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  10. ^ a b Staff (November 21, 2013). "Cuomo's clean-energy plan gives Buffalo the seeds for a new economy". The Buffalo News. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  11. ^ WBFO Newsroom. "Buffalo's RiverBend to be site of two new clean-energy research companies". WBFO. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  12. ^ Staff (November 21, 2013). "Profiles of high-tech hub companies Soraa, Silevo". The Buffalo News. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  13. ^ Cardwell, Diane (June 17, 2014). "SolarCity Is Acquiring a Start-Up, Silevo, to Build Panels". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  14. ^ Staff, News 4 Digital (September 23, 2014). "SolarCity investing $5B in Buffalo, creating 3,000 jobs". wivb.com.
  15. ^ Ayre, James (September 7, 2017). "Solar Roof Tile Production At Tesla's Buffalo "Gigafactory" Now Up & Running". CleanTechnica. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  16. ^ Robinson, David (October 18, 2016). "Why Tesla wants to team up with Panasonic in Buffalo". The Buffalo News. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  17. ^ "Making the World's Best Solar Panel Won't Be Easy for Tesla". NASDAQ.com. November 6, 2016. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  18. ^ CNBC.com, Bob Woods, special to (July 19, 2016). "SolarCity gigafactory brightens New York's manufacturing revival". Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  19. ^ Smallwood, Brittni; Reporter, News 4 (July 6, 2015). "ECC creating new courses to capitalize on SolarCity's development". wivb.com. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  20. ^ Becker, Maki (October 6, 2017). "Elon Musk to Puerto Rico: My Tesla solar panels can help you". The Buffalo News. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  21. ^ CNBC.com, Tim Mullaney, special to (June 11, 2015). "Elon Musk's biggest challenge yet: Recharging Buffalo, NY". Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  22. ^ Martin, Richard. "10 Breakthrough Technologies 2016: SolarCity's Gigafactory". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  23. ^ Durbin | AP, Dee-Ann (August 31, 2017). "Tesla starts production of solar cells in Buffalo". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  24. ^ Eckhouse, Brian (January 9, 2018). "Tesla's New York Gigafactory Kicks Off Solar Roof Production". Bloomberg. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  25. ^ Field, Kyle. "A Look Inside Tesla’s Solar Gigafactory In Buffalo, New York", CleanTechnica.com, November 16, 2018
  26. ^ McMahon, E. J. (September 22, 2016). "Cuomo's SolarCity disaster could become a monument to corruption". New York Post. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  27. ^ "Musk calls Tesla's SolarCity deal 'no-brainer'; investors disagree". USA TODAY. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  28. ^ Robinson, David (July 24, 2019). "Tesla's solar energy business takes a turn for the worse". The Buffalo News. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  29. ^ Carr, Austin; Eckhouse, Brian (November 20, 2018). "Inside Elon Musk's forgotten Gigafactory in Buffalo". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved July 25, 2019.

External linksEdit