Tesla Gigafactory 2 Gearing Up For Solar Roof Production This Summer

6 days ago by Mark Kane 12

Tesla Solar Panels

Tesla’s solar manufacturing facility in Buffalo, NY, sometimes called the Gigafactory 2 (but mostly only by CEO Elon Musk), is set to begin new production this summer alongside Panasonic as a strategic partner.

Also available to order now – Tesla Solar Roof in Smooth Glass

In the beginning, the company will produce its new low-profile, 325 watt conventional panel (~21.76% efficiency) – for use with existing roofs and standalone systems. The new product was just shown off a month ago.

The sleek panel is to be a major product at the $900 million factory, at least for quite some time.

“The $900 million factory already was supposed to be buzzing with activity.

Originally expected to be at full production by early this year, the South Buffalo factory has been delayed by SolarCity’s deteriorating finances, which led to its acquisition last year by Tesla. The company’s once-breakneck growth also has slowed, partly because of a deliberate decision to cut costs and try to stem swelling losses and partly because of slowing growth in the residential market. The company also has been focused on the development of its new solar roofing product.”

The much awaited Solar Roof tile (from ~$21.85 sq ft) product production gets underway at Gigafactory 2 after the company completes a validation test run on a pilot production line at its Fremont, California factory in June.

In other words, the Tesla Solar Roof ramp-up will be slow, but is expected to overtake conventional solar panel production at some point in the future.

“In fact, Musk said last week that production of the solar roofing tiles – expected to be the dominant product of the Buffalo factory – will ramp up “very slowly” as the company gradually rolls out its sleek new roofing product, first in California and then in other markets.”

source: The Buffalo News via Teslarati

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13 responses to "Tesla Gigafactory 2 Gearing Up For Solar Roof Production This Summer"

  1. Someone out there says:

    Those panels do look quite nice I have to say so maybe they will have some success in the marketplace. I hope they can sell them at a competitive price.

  2. Alan says:

    Still no news on module efficiency of the solar roof tiles ? How do they compare with the 21.76% panels ?

    I am assuming they will be lower and will need a lot more roof space for equivalent 7kw sunpower x21 black system.

    I have e-mailed them but as yet, no reply.

    1. Doggydogworld says:

      The smooth and textured solar tiles seem to spec out around 9 W/sqft. That’s about half a typical solar panel. Some of that is because the tiles have more dead space around each active cell. A section of roof with solar tiles has about 65% active area vs. 90%+ for solar panels. Also, because the top layer of a tile blocks some sunlight, each cell produces less electricity.

      Efficiency doesn’t matter that much, unless your roof has limited space relative to your electricity demand.

      1. Alan says:

        I did think these would produce a lot less, as my roof space is limited and my usage is high (all electric house + Outlander PHEV and soon to be replaced by Leaf 2.0 probably) will render these prohibitively priced.

        I’m not convinced the efficiency doesn’t matter though since they already run out about twice the price of top of the range panels, this would make them a non starter for the vast majority ?

        I like their low profile panels so might see how they compare to SP X21 blacks.

      2. ModernMarvelFan says:

        “Efficiency doesn’t matter that much”

        It impact the cost in terms of W/sq which is important in solar market that values “cost” over style.

      3. DJ says:

        Efficiency totally matters as others have said. The more efficient the tiles are the fewer you will need to have placed on a south or west facing roof. Once you run out of south and west facing roofs your other options are a lot worse and as expensive as these tiles are I would say it’s pretty important to try and get as many facing that way as possible!

        1. Martin Winlow says:

          I don’t think Doggy… was implying that it wouldn’t matter if the shingles were *half* as efficient (etc) as the ‘normal’ modules but we are more likely taking 1 or 2 % less so and so his comment is valid.

    2. Nix says:

      Tesla has stated that the solar roof will use the same Panasonic solar cells as are used in their 22% efficient solar panels.

      So the only way to figure out the efficiency would be to add back in any efficiency losses due to how the cells are installed into the solar panels, then subtract out whatever efficiency losses that the roofing costs. We don’t have that info.

      There has been a lot of attempted math based upon the Calculator that Tesla supplies, but Tesla uses Google’s solar roof calculator to power their Tesla calculator. And Google’s calculator factors in your individual house’s solar exposure. Like the direction the roof of your house faces, the solar index in your town, etc. So until somebody figures out how to reverse out those factors, that math is useless too.

      This is definitely a huge hole in information that needs to be filled by information directly from Tesla. Hopefully they will provide this information soon.

  3. Tom says:

    Well since in the last thread on Tesla roofs, I observed hardly anyone can do arithmetic, I will take a different route. I doubt the math matters that much on the roof. To claim that it will only sell if it is cheaper than ordinary roof plus solar panels is a bit short sighted. (note current comment only about new houses) All kinds of people spend 50 grand on granite counter tops for no reason whatsoever other than they are cool. Some portion of that expenditure is surely recouped at resale. Probably not all. Same thing with new houses. It will simply be rolled into construction costs and financed in the mortgage. Some of the money will come back through power savings but it is not vital that it all come back or that it make money at all. If it is attractive, durable, and has cache it would sell even if there were no solar cells in it.

  4. Ron M says:

    I lot of the conversation has been on installing these solar roofs on existing homes where you have tear off costs. I think the majority in the beginning will be new construction and major builders building 10% of new homes with solar roofs, storage battery and an EV charger.
    Vermont utility is letting the 1st 2000 homes lease a Powerwall and there installing a Tesla 30 mw storage battery to stabilize the grid.

  5. QCO says:

    Still waiting for a price…. Conventional solar panels are approaching 60 cents per watt.

    Yes, efficiency might be lower, but that still means Tesla price must be low even after accounting for efficiency.

  6. James says:

    Don’t care about price. I’ll definitely install the Tesla roof when it becomes available. It will be, at first, the Model X of solar, then the Model 3 will come in 5 or 6 years. This is a brilliant product, and it’s a premium product for now, but at scale it will become a good investment since the roof will be almost indestructible, as well as creating positive value.

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