BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Shareholders spoke loud and clear Thursday as 85 percent voted in favor of Tesla's $2.6 billion acquisition of SolarCity.
"I think your faith will be rewarded by some of the amazing stuff that comes out," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said.
"All the questions about SolarCity's viability should be put to bed forever," said Howard Zemsky, Empire State Development CEO. Zemsky says the merger makes SolarCity's location at Buffalo's RiverBend site the largest and only manufacturing facility for the combined company.
He says that can open doors for future opportunities like Tesla's recently unveiled plans for a new solar roofing system.
"You're talking about the world's largest integrated clean energy company, in Buffalo," Zemsky said. "With literally $50 billion of market capitalization behind Tesla, SolarCity and Panasonic, this is just as good as it gets."
Some have called the deal a bailout for SolarCity, but SUNY Buffalo State Economics Professor Fred Floss says he views it differently.
"I see what it is as SolarCity trying to corner the market, very much like Rockefeller or Ford or Carnegie did, which is we have verticle integration," Floss said. "So, we're integrating batteries with solar panels with solar cars."
Floss says local leaders could look into expanding opportunities, like manufacturing Tesla car parts or additional investment from Musk, in the future.