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SolarCity plant at RiverBend nearly complete

The SolarCity manufacturing plant at RiverBend in South Buffalo is now nearly complete, with only a few minor electrical and equipment-related tasks left before the building is turned over to the solar panel maker, state officials said.

The building shell is now 99 percent done, while the mechanical, electrical and process systems are 95 percent complete, according to an update provided to state officials at a Public Authorities Control Board meeting Wednesday. Workers need to finish the process systems to install tools in the facility, as well as complete the electrical substation to provide permanent power to the sprawling complex. The facility will be finished by Sept. 15.

Meanwhile, the state made a $26.8 million payment Aug. 5 to general contractor LPCiminelli to pay vendors and other construction contractors for May, and a payment of $38.09 million is expected in the next 30 days for June’s construction work and for equipment and tool vendors.

The state is spending $750 million, and SolarCity is putting in $150 million as part of the Buffalo Billion initiative to construct the $900 million facility, which will be the largest solar panel manufacturing plant in the Western Hemisphere, at 1.2 million square feet. It’s part of a larger commitment by the company to spend over $5 billion on capital, operations and supply chain over the next decade, while creating 1,500 jobs in Buffalo and 5,000 statewide.

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