Tesla has finally met its job creation goals at the company’s plant in South Buffalo, according to a state spokesperson.
The state required Tesla to employ 1,460 at the plant in exchange for subsidies worth $950 million. Meeting that mandate has proven difficult for a variety of reasons, including Covid-19.
Employment stood at 1,058 on May 31, the original deadline to meet the job goals. The state extended Tesla’s deadline to Dec. 31.
In response to questions from Investigative Post, a spokesperson for the Empire State Development Corp. said Tuesday that, as of Nov. 10, Tesla had reported employment of 1,536 full-time and 21 part-time employees at its plant on South Park Avenue.
In addition, ESD said Tesla reported that it has 704 employees working at other locations elsewhere in the state.
ESD spokesperson Pamm Lent noted that the number of jobs reported by Tesla in mid-November “far exceeds” its year-end obligation for the Buffalo facility.
Tesla faced a $41.2 million penalty if it failed to meet its job target.
Original plans for the plant anticipated that it would produce solar panels and potentially seed a solar energy sector in Buffalo. The company’s solar installation business has fallen on hard times, however.
In a cover letter accompanying its May 31 report, Treasurer Yaron Klein said that the pandemic caused “temporary manufacturing closures, supply chain constraints, dampened residential solar markets and impediments to administrative activities.”
According to Klein, those challenges impacted the company’s solar roof and power manufacturing lines and caused temporary delays in the company’s ability to meet its jobs goal.
In the wake of the pandemic, Tesla shifted the focus at its Buffalo operation. In its May 31 progress report, company officials acknowledged that its Buffalo operation was being diversified to include work on Tesla’s autonomous and self-driving vehicle initiatives.