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Tesla-Panasonic Joint Agreement To Establish Manufacturing Plant In Buffalo, New York

Tesla and Panasonic have agreed in principle to collaborate on the manufacturing of photovoltaic cells and modules at SolarCity’s RiverBend Plant in south Buffalo, New York.

According to economic development officials, the agreement is contingent upon shareholders’ approval of Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity. The vote is scheduled for November 17, 2016.

SolarCity’s board of directors accepted Tesla’s $2.6 billion acquisition offer in July of this year and a shareholder vote for both companies has been set for November 17, 2016.This agreement in principle between Tesla and Panasonic is contingent on the shareholders voting to agree to the merger.

SolarCity’s 1.2 million-square-foot GigaFactory at RiverBend is complete with work now focusing on the interior fit out process, including installation of specialized solar panel manufacturing equipment. When completed, the Gigafactory is expected to produce approximately 10,000 solar panels daily. And as previously announced, SolarCity will create over 1,460 jobs in Western New York.

Under the terms of the build-to-suit lease arrangement between the state and SolarCity, the company is required to achieve specific operational milestones during the initial 10-year term of the lease, which includes employing a certain number of employees at the facility and within the State of New York within specified time periods following the completion of the facility. The company is also required to spend or incur approximately $5 billion in combined capital, operational expenses and other costs in the State of New York over the 10 years following full production capacity.

“Buffalo’s economic renaissance continues with Tesla and Panasonic’s agreement to collaborate on the manufacturing of photovoltaic cells and modules – a central plank of SolarCity’s solar panel production,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “After more than 50 years of stagnation and decline, we have seen the trajectory of Western New York trending upward, with transformational momentum across a range of industries. Our investments across the region continue to bear fruit, and this agreement further cements Western New York’s position as a national leader in clean power technology and cutting-edge innovation.”

Empire State Development President/CEO Howard Zemsky said, “Tesla’s partnership with Panasonic will bring world-class manufacturing expertise to the table, strengthen the company’s competitiveness and position the entire region for future economic revitalization. By bringing Tesla and Panasonic together, this innovative partnership will transform Buffalo into a national leader in the production of affordable, reliable clean energy. This is a far-reaching agreement that will keep the momentum moving forward in Western New York for years to come.”

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