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Panasonic plans to employ 300 by year end at solar factory

Panasonic is looking to hire more workers for its portion of the giant Tesla solar panel plant at RiverBend in South Buffalo. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

Published December 4, 2017

Panasonic hopes to have slightly more than 300 people working by the end of the year at its portion of the Tesla solar panel factory.

The company, which began making solar modules at the sprawling RiverBend factory in late summer, is getting ready to expand its production to include solar cells in the coming months, a spokesman said. Each solar module is a grouping of several solar cells.

Panasonic expects to continue adding workers into next year, with a target of hiring an additional 60 people or more during the first three to four months of 2018, a Panasonic official said.

To find workers for its growing operations, Panasonic is holding a career fair beginning at 5 p.m. on Wednesday in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

The job fair, which follows a similar session that drew long lines of applicants this summer, will include a company presentation and interviews during sessions that will begin every 30 minutes, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Panasonic said it is seeking production and manufacturing operators, along with machine operators, electrical and mechanical technicians and engineers.

Panasonic has openings for 17 different positions listed on its website. Within those 17 different types of jobs, Panasonic has 45 positions that it is seeking to fill right now, company officials said.

Candidates can register for the job fair and upload a resume in advance.

Panasonic has an agreement with Tesla to provide the electric vehicle maker with solar cells and modules once Tesla begins making its solar roof at the South Park Avenue factory, potentially on a small scale by as early as the end of this year.

Tesla, which still is testing the solar roof that it expects to be its main product at the Buffalo factory, has yet to complete testing on the roofing panels, which look like a conventional roof but have solar cells inside. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said he expects production of the solar roof to ramp up quickly once it begins.

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