Musk: Tesla will make NY ‘proud’ of Buffalo factory

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The Tesla plant in Buffalo at Riverbend.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Friday officially unveiled the third version of the eagerly anticipated Solar Roof in a conference call with retail investors.

Tesla did not allow any reporters to ask questions.

Musk kept calling the product the “Solar Glass Roof” and said it was challenging to get to this point because Tesla had to conduct complex testing to ensure the solar roof is safe and that it will last as long as traditional shingled roofs, which is about 30 years.

The Solar Glass Roof is made in Buffalo at the Tesla factory at Riverbend. The factory was built and equipped with $750 million in taxpayer money, all part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative. No state officials were mentioned or spoke during the conference call.

“We are definitely going to make New York proud about that factory, it is going to be great,” Musk said.

Musk for the first time discussed publicly his recent visit to the Buffalo factory earlier this year, saying that the employees have “really been putting in a huge effort to ramp up production of the Solar Glass Roof” and that there was a “ton of people” and it all “seems like a good situation.”

Tesla said the Buffalo plant also manufactures other products, such as super chargers for Tesla’s electric vehicles and inverters for its power-packs.

Musk started off the conference call talking about his futuristic vision of neighborhoods of houses with his solar roofs that generate electricity and look beautiful.

Tesla executives said the Solar Glass Roof will have a 25-year warranty and should be able to sustain 130 mph winds and be resistant to hail. Tesla eventually plans to work directly with roofing contractors who would be able to offer the product to customers.

Musk did caution that the Solar Glass Roof would not make financial sense to homeowners who recently had their roofs redone.

A lot of attention will be on Tesla in the coming months as it gears up for a hiring spree. The state contract requires Tesla to hire 1,460 workers in Buffalo by April 2020.

If Tesla misses that hiring goal, the state could impose a $41.2 million penalty.

The Erie County Legislature last month passed a resolution calling for the state comptroller to audit the Tesla project to ensure that state taxpayers are getting a return on the investment.

In May, News 4 Investigates reported that the state comptroller was already conducting an audit of high-tech programs, in which the Tesla facility would be included. That audit has not been completed.

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