Tesla Inc. needs to hire about 360 more workers at its massive solar factory in Western New York if the company is going to meet a state employment quota and avoid paying a penalty.
There are more than 1,100 workers at the plant in Buffalo, according to the city’s mayor and a member of the state Assembly who recently toured the state-subsidized complex. The company’s deal with New York includes an April deadline to hire 1,460 workers or pay a $41.2 million penalty.
It’s a goal that Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown still thinks is attainable. “From the tour I took, it certainly looked like Tesla was in a position to honor its commitment,” he said in a phone interview Thursday.
The success of the plant, called Gigafactory New York, is crucial to the future of Tesla’s solar business. The sleek photovoltaic shingles it produces to form solar rooftops were a key piece of CEO Elon Musk’s push to acquire debt-ridden SolarCity Corp. in 2016. But the factory has been slow to ramp…