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SolarCity plans world's largest solar panel plant in upstate N.Y.

Lucas Mearian | June 18, 2014
The plant, to be built in Buffalo, will make enough solar panels to produce one gigawatt of power within two years.

"We will be the most vertically integrated solar company in the world," Peter Rive said during a conference call.

"SolarCity has been heavily focused on cutting costs across the board," said Shayle Kann, vice president of market research firm GTM Research. "I can't imagine a company so focused on cutting costs making an acquisition like this if they weren't convinced it would be cost competitive."

SolarCity admitted there's a glut of solar panel producers in the U.S., which is helping to reduce costs to some degree. The majority of costs arise from installation of the panels, not the panels themselves.

Even though it may seem counter-intuitive to produce more panels, Musk wrote that most manufacturers are producing "relatively low photonic efficiency solar cells at uncompelling costs."

"Without decisive action to lay the groundwork today, the massive volume of affordable, high efficiency panels needed for unsubsidized solar power to outcompete fossil fuel grid power simply will not be there when it is needed," he stated.

An artist's rendition of the future RiverBend Project site and manufacturing facilities (Image: N.Y. governor's press office)


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