The announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development.
The Empire State Development (ESD) board of directors approved a total of $46 million in grant funds for infrastructure construction and development at the Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP).
The site, located in Alabama, N.Y., in Genesee County, is currently being prepared for anchor tenant 1366 Technologies to build its first large-scale commercial Direct Wafer production plant and significantly grow its workforce. The company, which develops and manufactures high performance silicon wafers for the solar energy industry, will create at least 600 new, full-time jobs and several hundred million dollars of private investment in the Finger Lakes region.
The development of the STAMP site has been a priority project for the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) for the past five years and is a major component of advancing “Finger Lakes Forward.”
“Today's board approval reinforces New York State's commitment to fostering the clean energy technologies of the future to create jobs and economic opportunities for New Yorkers. These funds ensure infrastructure work continues, bringing us another step closer to STAMP hosting 1366 Technologies, and the hundreds of new high-tech jobs they're going to generate,” said Howard Zemsky, Empire State Development president, CEO and commissioner.
The funding approved for the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) enables infrastructure work at the STAMP site to continue, in preparation for the construction of 1366 Technologies' production plant. The project, announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last October, will progress in phases, with 1366 Technologies initially building a 250MW facility that will ultimately be a 3GW wafer facility. Over the course of the multi-phase project, 1366 will invest approximately $700 million, including a $100 million initial investment, becoming the largest economic development project in the history of Genesee County.
“The approval of these funds by Empire State Development demonstrates the commitment by Gov. Cuomo to keep the development of the STAMP site moving forward,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center. “With this approval, the GCEDC will be begin construction of the infrastructure required on site, including the necessary infrastructure for the new solar wafer manufacturing facility, 1366 Technologies.”
The GCEDC will use a grant of up to $18 million for facility and infrastructure construction related to the 130,000-sq.-ft. (12,077 sq m) manufacturing facility and related infrastructure for 1366 Technologies, Inc. — the first anchor tenant at STAMP. These funds are part of the $56.3 million in total state incentives that were critical in securing 1366 Technologies commitment to build its factory in upstate New York. The additional funds approved, $28 million, are the remaining balance of a $33 million budget appropriation and are primarily for infrastructure construction at STAMP.
In November 2015, the ESD directors approved $5 million for remaining land acquisition and engineering for roadway, electrical, water, sewer and wastewater systems. A portion of the remaining land parcels have been acquired and the engineering phase of the project is approximately 40 percent complete. The remaining funds needed to await completion of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process, which has been completed and with the action by the ESD directors the balance of the project can move forward.
1366 Technologies develops and manufactures high performance silicon wafers, the building block of solar cells and the most expensive component of a solar panel. The company's Direct Wafer technology transforms how the wafers are made and replaces a decades-old, expensive and wasteful manufacturing process with one elegant step, according to the company. The result slashes the cost of a wafer by 50 percent. As a “drop-in” replacement for conventional wafers, 1366 Technologies makes it easy for cell and module manufacturers to strip out costs without adding complexity.
In September 2011, 1366 also was issued a $150 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to build a commercial-scale manufacturing facility.
The Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park site is part of New York's High Tech Corridor and is the state's second shovel-ready mega site (1,250 acres) designed to attract large companies including semiconductor, display/ imaging, photovoltaics, optics/ photonics, and bio-manufacturing firms. The site is located within the New York Power Authority's low cost hydropower zone and is serviced by redundant, highly reliable power. Located just 5 mi. (8 km) north of the New York State Thruway on exit 48A, the site has access to a bi-region population of 2.1 million people. The STAMP site has been validated as a regional priority project by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and is supported by regional business and labor organizations, as well as regional colleges and universities.
Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward
The announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The state has already invested more than $3.4 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan — investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.
Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million state investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Cuomo in December 2015. The state's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs.