Last week 1366 Technologies announced that it will build a commercial solar wafer manufacturing facility in Genesee County New York between Buffalo and Rochester. The project represents a $700 million investment in the region and will create roughly 1,000 jobs in the region.
It's the second solar manufacturing facility in New York that made a large announcement this month. Earlier in the month SolarCity announced the solar panels it will produce at it's manufacturing facility in New York will be at 22 percent efficiency or more. 1366 Technology wafers. Courtesy 1366"This $700 million investment is an enormous vote of confidence in the upstate economy and sends the message that there is opportunity in every corner of this state." Cuomo said. "This is an example of how we are combining this region's natural strengths with our vision to develop New York's entrepreneurial future and make the Empire State a true leader in developing the clean energy technologies of tomorrow."
The company will produce silicon wafers for PV cells and solar panels using its Direct Wafer technology. When completed the facility will house 400 Direct Wafer furnaces and will produce 3 gigawatts—600 million silicon wafers in the plant annually.
"The facility in Bedford, Massachusetts, was our proving ground," said Frank van Mierlo, CEO of 1366 Technologies. "New York brings us to commercial scale. The technology is ready and 1366 is squarely positioned to lead in an industry undergoing rapid global growth. We are extremely proud to become part of the Upstate New York community and are committed to the region's vibrant future."
"Our goal has always been two-fold: deliver solar at the cost of coal and manufacture - at scale - in the United States," continued van Mierlo. "Today's announcement signifies that we're on our way to achieving both."
With construction slated to begin by the second quarter of 2016 the company will start with a 250 megawatt production line that will produce more than 50 million wafers a year at half the cost of other wafer manufacturing facilities. The company anticipates quickly ramping up production and will employ 300 people when it reaches 1 gigawatt of production capacity.
The project has received funding from state as well as support from the U.S. government, which in September 2011 granted the company a $150 million loan guarantee to establish a commercial manufacturing facility. The company will invest approximately $700 million in the development of the project. That includes a $100 million initial investment, which the state said makes it the largest economic development project in the history of Genesee County. The state is supporting the project with a $56.3 million incentive package and low-cost hydropower.