Tesla contractors at solar panel factory in Buffalo NY have not been paid by the state since September
With the acquisition of SolarCity, Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) inherited a solar panel factory at Riverbend in South Buffalo, New York. Though, the automaker actually took over a free lease for the factory called Gigafactory, as the State of New York paid $750 million for its construction equipment. Therefore, the state technically owns it, according to Electrek.
The Buffalo News reported Monday that an on-going investigation has been causing delays in payments to contractors and subcontractors. The plant’s contractor LPCiminelli has been charged with illegal lobbying to get selected for the construction of $900 million project.
Therefore, the contractors have not been paid over for the last three months. They received last payment in September for the work they completed in July. The payment delays led to layoff of some workers at the site this spring. Though, fortunately for Tesla, it had no impact on the timeline of the projects underway at the factory, where construction is nearly completed.
Empire State Development President, Howard Zemsky, said in a statement: “Everyone will get paid for their work, but in light of the investigation, the payment process has extra layers of review and takes additional time.” However, he did not disclose when the state will make its next payment to contractors.
Tesla’s new 1.2 million-square-foot factory is being built under an agreement between the state and a solar panel startup, Silevo, which was acquired by SolarCity in 2014. The solar installer took over the Gigafactory last month, a couple of weeks before the official merger with Tesla.
In October, The Country Caller reported that Tesla strengthened its partnership with Panasonic Corporation, as the Japanese company will manufacture solar cell and modules at the Buffalo factory. Tesla will start production of solar panel and solar roof there next year. Panasonic’s solar cell technology combined with SolarCity’s Silevo technology will be used to build solar modules for the automaker’s residential and commercial projected, Electrek noted.