Tesla and state officials in Nevada have decided on a final incentive agreement for the lithium-ion battery plant or the so-called gigafactory. The agreement, which amounts to $1.3 billion, allows the EV firm to apply for refunds for some of its taxes, says a report from the Reno Gazette Journal.
Tesla making progress with gigafactory
According to the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the first refund application from the electric car maker would cover sales and few other taxes paid between Oct. 17 and Dec. 17, 2014.
Tesla’s investment in the factory is growing, up 28% from the first quarter to the second. One of the requirements of the agreement is for Tesla to hire about half of the construction workers for the project from the state. So far, the company has hired 73% of its workers from the state, says the report. In the second quarter, there were 721 construction workers at the site, bringing the total employment to date to 1,465, claims the report.
Tesla is also adding more non-construction jobs, which have almost tripled from the first to the second quarter. In the last quarter, the company employed a total of 36 qualified employees, including 31 from Tesla and five from Panasonic. In the second quarter, the company paid a total of $1.4 million to qualified employees. The EV maker has invested around $183 million in the plant, and upon completion, the giant factory could employ 6,500 people.
Investments from partner Panasonic Electronics North America have grown almost four-fold to $2.8 million. The Japanese firm is expected to send hundreds of employees to speed up the construction work.
Negotiating power rates
Apart from these tax incentives, Tesla also initiated negotiations on electric rates for the gigafactory with the utility company NV Energy and the Nevada Public Utilities Commission. The Nevada Legislature has authorized the project to be eligible for a rebate under the Base Tariff Energy Rate (BTER).
Recently, the EV maker bought more than 1,900 acres of land near the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, which according to the company, will allow it to grow further in the future. The EV maker has been quiet about its plans to expand the gigafactory beyond the initial 5.5 million square-feet. During the earnings call in May, CEO Elon Musk revealed that the company is considering upping the size of the factory.
On Monday, Tesla shares closed down 2.31% at $259.99. Year to date, the stock is up by almost 17% while in the last 12 months, shares are up by almost 12%.