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Tesla’s Buffalo Factory Expands Beyond Solar

There are now 730 full-time workers employed at the Buffalo plant where Tesla’s solar roof is produced, a number that encompasses both Tesla’s own workers as well as those of Panasonic, its partner at the factory.

Tesla’s Wednesday announcement offers some clarity about the Buffalo Gigafactory’s future, with the company revealing that it has expanded its plans for the plant beyond just solar production. In addition to producing its solar roof in Buffalo, Tesla will make equipment for its energy storage products and its electric vehicle Supercharger.

Tesla is “diversifying its presence in Buffalo,” a company spokesperson said. “We’re committed to investing in Buffalo and the State, and the new power electronic lines will deliver more high-tech jobs while supporting Tesla’s energy storage products and global Supercharging infrastructure.”

Tesla had spent $381 million investing in New York State through April 30, the company says.

Analysts have questioned Tesla’s commitment to the solar business it acquired from SolarCity in 2016. Tesla’s residential solar installations have plunged in recent years, dropping from 650 megawatts in 2016 to 208 megawatts in 2017, according to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

Tesla has said it doesn’t want to grow its solar business “just by chasing volume.”

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