Tesla And Panasonic Finalize Deal To Jointly Manufacture Solar Products In Buffalo, NY

6 months ago by Mark Kane 11

Tesla Solar Roof

Tesla Solar Roof production to come to Buffalo, NY after Summer 2017

Tesla and Panasonic announced the finalization of an agreement to manufacture solar photovoltaic cells and modules at (recently acquired) SolarCity’s Buffalo, NY factory, which was first highlighted two months ago.

Panasonic solar

Panasonic solar and Tesla team up for 1 GW worth of annual capacity by 2019

Similar to lithium-ion battery production at Tesla’s Gigafactory, Panasonic will again become the strategic manufacturing partner to Tesla.

To goal is to first produce cells and modules for non-solar roofs, and then later add in solar-roof products.

As for the immediate market reaction – it was positive, as the stock opened more than $8 higher (~4%) and held most of the gains at mid-day (real-time quote can be found here).

Production to begin in the summer 2017 and reach 1 GW by 2019.

Tesla and Panasonic have finalized an agreement this week to begin the manufacturing of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules at the Buffalo, NY factory.

These high-efficiency PV cells and modules will be used to produce solar panels in the non-solar roof products. When production of the solar roof begins, Tesla will also incorporate Panasonic’s cells into the many kinds of solar glass tile roofs that Tesla will be manufacturing.

All of these solar products will work seamlessly with Tesla’s energy storage products, Powerwall and Powerpack. Production of the first PV modules will begin in summer 2017, and will ramp to 1 Gigawatt of module production by 2019.

Also, a significant number of new jobs will coming to Buffalo, NY with the new investment – surely another feather in Elon Musk’s “Advisor to the President-Elect” status. According to Bloomberg, Panasonic will invest more than $256 million on the installation of production equipment.

“As Tesla and Panasonic begin production, Buffalo will continue to expand Tesla’s American manufacturing base and create thousands of new jobs in the coming years. Tesla reaffirms SolarCity’s commitment to create over 1,400 jobs in Buffalo—including more than 500 manufacturing jobs. Panasonic, with its technological and manufacturing expertise in PV production, will also work with Tesla on developing PV next generation technology at SolarCity’s facility in Fremont, CA.

As part of the agreement, Panasonic will cover required capital costs in Buffalo and Tesla is making a long-term purchase commitment from Panasonic. The collaboration extends the established relationship between Tesla and Panasonic, which includes the production of electric vehicle and grid storage battery cells at the Tesla Gigafactory.”

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11 responses to "Tesla And Panasonic Finalize Deal To Jointly Manufacture Solar Products In Buffalo, NY"

  1. Trollnonymous says:

    I’ve heard a bunch of talk about the NY facility but haven’t heard anything of the cell performance. What’s the efficiency and cost of the cells there compared to the ones on the market now and the ones from China?

    1. Roy_H says:

      AFAIK efficiency is 21% and cost will probably never be revealed, as all will be sold “installed” by Solar City. Installed price is of course expected to be very competitive.

    2. speculawyer says:

      We can mock SolarCity for stumbling on their factory plans and the Silevo acquisition.

      But on the other hand, being able to recognize your weaknesses and get outside help when necessary is a very important important skill to have.

      I wish them massive success on that solar PV factory.

  2. John says:

    Can’t wait till I can get a quote from Tesla for Solar in KS.

    It’ll have to be fast though, the max rebate only has 12 months left…

  3. TP says:

    That is great news. But I have to wonder when and where the solar roof tiles will be produced. I would have thought this location perfect for that.

    Does anyone know if Tesla Energy will make either the panels or solar roofs available in all 50 states?

    My state does not allow resale of energy using the old Solar City model. Would love to replace my aging roof with a solar roof, and am certain it would be easier to get approval from my Home Owners Association (HOA), than for traditional solar panels.

    1. speculawyer says:

      Yeah, there are a LOT of unanswered questions about the Tesla/SolarCity solar tiles. As a solar PV guy, I am just filled with questions on them. I think it is going to be a while before those Tesla solar tiles are ready for customers.

      We need to know tech specs, prices, how they will be installed, inverter plans, DC optimizer plans, etc. I suspect that Tesla is working on a much larger product line behind the scenes . . . the solar tiles are just the tip of the iceberg.

  4. Mark C says:

    I think it’s great that Solar City PV products will be made here in the US.

  5. dgate says:

    Maybe they should make them in coal states to lure miners away from that dying industry thus expediting its demise.
    Politicians wouldn’t then have job excuse for maintaining the dirty industry.

    1. speculawyer says:

      Seriously, they probably should have built their factory in a red state. Those states tend to have lower labor costs, land costs, and then you can get more red state support for green energy policies.

      The wind industry has been very successful at that . . . but probably because it just naturally happened since the best onshore wind is in various red states and the best modern wind turbine equipment is so HUGE that it must be manufactured locally.

    2. We are trying to get this done in Arkansas. We were awarded our 3rd DOE SunShot Grant last summer for our groundbreaking Hydrogen Selective Emitter (HSE) technology, trying to raise matching funds to get to manufacturing within 1 1/2 years. Aimed at n-type cells, but may have protective benefits for p-type. N-type cells benefit with better surface conduction (1/3 fewer silver gridlines) and better efficiency (+10-15% in lab). www(dot)picasolar(dot)com

  6. Tony C says:

    It’s interesting — with TESLA you will now get LG Panels from Asia, racking made from the acquired Solar City, batteries made by Panasonic inside the TESLA plant, and all made for non-solar homes first, installed by the old SolarCity teams. It seems that solar, and anything made in the USA, is taking a “back seat” in the TESLA business plan. Bummer.

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