ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A New York oversight board has authorized spending $485 million to complete a solar panel production plant in Buffalo.
The Public Authority Control Board’s vote Wednesday came amid questions about the future of the solar industry, a lack of details about how the money will be spent and uncertainty about benefits for the state.
The $750 million plant for solar panel installer SolarCity is being built with public funds. The million-square-foot building is nearing completion and the money approved by the board is believed to be the balance of the state’s commitment to fit it out with equipment.
But Fort Schuyler Management Corp., a not-for-profit arm of the State University of New York overseeing the project, has not responded to inquiries from The Associated Press about specifics about how the money will be spent
Assembly Republican Minority Leader Brian Kolb, who appoints one of the five members of the Public Authorities Control Board, said in a letter to legislative leaders Tuesday that there are too many unanswered questions about job creation and other public benefits of the factory the state is building for SolarCity.
SolarCity has committed to investing $5 billion over 10 years, hiring almost 1,500 workers at the plant for five years and employing at least 2,000 more people across the state in exchange for use of the state-owned plant.