New York’s nearly $1 billion investment in Elon Musk‘s plan for a massive solar-panel factory, once touted as the largest in the Western Hemisphere, has largely failed to deliver on its promises, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The state-owned facility, leased to Tesla Inc. TSLA for $1 a year, was expected to produce enough solar-panel shingles to cover 1,000 roofs each week by 2020. However, Tesla’s solar-energy unit is averaging just 21 installations a week. The anticipated suppliers and modern manufacturing hub never materialized, and most of the solar-panel manufacturing equipment purchased by the state has been sold or scrapped.
Despite the shortcomings, the state has amended the terms of its subsidy 12 times over the years to accommodate Tesla. The company reported in February that it has created 1,700 positions at the facility, enough to meet its obligations to the state and avoid a $41 million annual penalty. Spokespersons for the former governor and the state agency overseeing the project defended the factory, citing its contributions to the local economy.
Current State of Affairs
The factory, which was supposed to be a manufacturing hub, is now largely populated by Tesla data analysts. The high-tech factory jobs that the state intended have not materialized, and the state agency overseeing the subsidies does not track what is being produced at the factory.