The giant solar module factory at Riverbend in South Buffalo already has quite a tumultuous history, despite its brief existence. It was born out of a deal between the state of New York and solar panel startup Silevo, which was bought by SolarCity in 2014; in turn, SolarCity was acquired by Tesla last week, who inherited the plant.
In actuality, what Telsa inherited was a free lease for the plant, not the plant itself; since the state paid the $750 million to build the factory and buy most of the equipment it will use, it’s the state that still technically owns the plant.
But an investigation that led to charges against the plant’s contractor for alleged illegal lobbying efforts with the goal of getting picked by the state for the construction of the plant has been slowing down some of the financing to complete payments to contractors and sub-contractors. The present situation is that contractors have not been paid since September for work done since July. expand full story