Deal dropout: plan to bring solar company and jobs to Genesee County falls through

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TOWN OF ALABAMA, N.Y. (WIVB) – A big blow for Genesee County. A solar company that promised to create hundreds of jobs has backed out. The state helped transform a former farm in the Town of Alabama into a high tech business park.That’s where 1366 technologies planned to set up shop.

1366 was set to open and bring up to one thousand jobs and spur economic development across the county.

But now 1366 has has scrapped its plans to build a factory to make silicon wafers, saying they will get a better deal taking their business to a new- undisclosed location overseas.

In a statement the CEO says 1366 had to make a “difficult decision” to withdraw from a loan guarantee agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy.

The decision is a setback for the state’s economic development efforts in the region, with the project in line to get nearly $100 million in incentives if it had been built.

This would have been the first tenant in the 1200-acre facility in the town of Alabama. Now, none of the state aid had been paid out to the company.

That’s because the incentives were based on the factory being built and the company meeting its promised job and investment targets.

Leaders say there are now negotiations ongoing for other tenants but no one has committed yet.

Steve Hyde, CEO and President of Genesee County Economic Development Center said, “We have a great workforce in this region. This site marries together the higher-ed skills and capabilities, that marries the workforce in Buffalo and Rochester. It has some of the lowest costs in the country for electric, which is big to advanced manufacturing, and those are some of the rather unique attributes that a 1250-acre site. That’s what makes us highly competitive.”

Hyde says he hopes to have a company set up at the STAMP facility in two years time.  Along with the state investment into infrastructure, the project will bring municipal water to the Town of Alabama, where the facility is located.

Even though 1366 dropped out, neighbors will still get public water.  It’s something leaders tell us was a “public health necessity.”

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