Silevo, SolarCity hold topping off ceremony at Buffalo Gigafactory

SolarCity’s continued efforts to cast solar power as far and as wide across the U.S. as possible took another giant step forward yesterday as the company celebrated a topping off ceremony at its forthcoming 1 GW Gigafactory in Buffalo, New York state.

The ceremony at Riverbend was attended by New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who spoke of how SolarCity’s endeavor – the project will create nearly 3,000 jobs in Western New York and a total of around 5,000 in the state – had helped transform the local economy, as well as the region’s outlook on future industry and energy sources.

"On the gravesite of the old economy, where Republic steel once stood, now rises a beautiful monument to Buffalo’s future," Cuomo said. The fab’s construction will add 1,500 construction jobs to the region by Fall, taking employment in this sector to its highest level since 1990, Cuomo added.

For SolarCity, the completion of the Gigafactory will boost its manufacturing capacity manifold. The completed plant will be able to produce more than 10,000 high-efficiency Silevo Triex solar panels a day.

"Governor Cuomo, SUNY Polytechnic Institute and the citizens of Buffalo are making history for clean energy today," said SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive during the topping off ceremony.

The next stage of the construction process will focus on the interior fit-out, including the installation of all tooling and machinery. The fab is expected to begin commercial operation in the first quarter of 2016 and will be the largest facility of its kind in the western hemisphere.

"The future is going to be green energy, more renewables," added Governor Cuomo. "That’s what this business is premised on and I believe that’s the undeniable trajectory."