Employment at the factory and Tesla's ability to meet its New York jobs target have been cause for much speculation as the company has weathered a bumpy year of layoffs and changes in its sales strategy for solar products. The Wednesday announcement offers some clarity about the Buffalo Gigafactory’s future, with Tesla 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."
Renewable Energy creates 5 times more jobs than fossil fuels.
Tesla had spent $381 million investing in New York state through April 30, the company says.Tesla's next job target in New York — and the first that brings a penalty of $41.2 million if Tesla does not meet it — comes in April 2020. By that time, Tesla is required to have 1,460 employees in Buffalo, though not all have to work at the factory. It must bring 5,000 jobs to the state within 10 years of the facility’s completion.
Although Tesla achieved its 2019 job targets, the move to expand its Buffalo manufacturing beyond solar may draw more concern from within that industry.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 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.” Much of the company's emphasis has shifted to its vehicle business as it grapples with scaling up production.
In some countries, renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuels. Renewable energy is a much cheaper alternative in some countries because of their ability to harness sources of energy that are prevalent to their location.