Building Permits Reveal 6 Tidbits About Tesla Gigafactory

JUN 30 2016 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 26

Tesla Gigfactory

Tesla Gigafactory

While details regarding the cost, size, and purposes of the Tesla Gigafactory are not a secret, many interesting details are still being discovered. Using information from building permits, six “top tidbits” have surfaced.

Inside The Tesla Gigafactory

Inside The Tesla Gigafactory

Jack Cookson of buildzoom, analyzes many building permits to place consumers and businesses with top talent. He provided some key information regarding what he learned about the Tesla Gigafactory while checking out Tesla’s building permits.

Teslarati broke that information down into six tidbits, which we’ve covered below.

Grand opening attendees may see battery cell production live in progress

On July 29, the Gigafactory is hosting its grand opening event. According to a building permit, the “Battery Cell Manufacturing Equipment Installation” will be finished over a week prior to the event. It is possible that this is planned in order to show off battery production during the event.

Tesla has filed its own permits and is not using a general contractor

Cookson explained:

“Something we found different about this project is that Tesla filed the majority of their own building permits and is actually the contractor for the project. This means, that Tesla had to acquire a contractor license in Nevada and has taken on far more work than if they had just hired a General Contractor.”

The Gigafactory is earthquake resistant

The building is built on four independent foundations so that it may shift freely in the event of an earthquake.

The Gigafactory continues to grow indefinitely

Building permits show for expansion to a fourth and fifth area. Areas D and E will cost $63 million and are projected to be complete by the end of the year. The current total Gigafactory, with all areas included, is only 14% of the planned finished space. As shown in many photos, the amount of available land space seems endless.

Tesla spent $4.7 million on fire safety

The company funded a permit for a fire safety command center and also donated a fire truck to the local Nevada fire department for Storey County.

The Gigafactory will have an enormous chiller and water tank on site

The water tank holds 1.5 million gallons of water which is larger than two Olympic sized pools. The permit doesn’t specify the use of the water tank. The giant refrigeration yard will likely cool batteries used for testing.

Source: Teslarati

Categories: Tesla

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

26 Comments on "Building Permits Reveal 6 Tidbits About Tesla Gigafactory"

newest oldest most voted

“The water tank holds 1.5 million gallons of water which is larger than two Olympic sized pools. The permit doesn’t specify the use of the water tank.”

A pumped storage water tower would be sorta cool.

But very useless…. Or rather insignificant.

Tesla will of course use the smartest, cheapest and easiest solution by not storing but taking electricity from the grid.

GF1 is supposed to be grid independant.

Mikael said: “But very useless…. Or rather insignificant.” Quite correct. I once did the math to see how big the water tanks would need to be for the average American suburban house to use pumped hydro storage for night-time storage of solar power, for mostly off-grid living. The result? Assuming a 30′ drop between upper and lower tanks, both would need to be about 10x as big as a typical backyard swimming pool. On the scale of the Gigafactory, two Olympic sized swimming pools would be a drop in the bucket compared to what they’d need. “Tesla will of course use the smartest, cheapest and easiest solution by not storing but taking electricity from the grid.” Well, Tesla claims the Gigafactory will be a “net zero emissions” factory, whatever that means. My guess is it means they plan to average getting enough energy from solar plus wind power to offset the amount of electricity they’ll be buying from the grid. As I think you’re suggesting, the most practical approach for that is to feed excess solar and wind power into the grid in the daytime, and take it out at night. Others parse that claim differently. For example, an article… Read more »

Spot on. And Tesla even put in an extra effort to negotiate low electricity prices when negotiating for the Gigafactory.

Why? Because that’s where they will be taking most of their electricity from.

Ya I am kinda wondering when they will start putting solar on the roof. Seems sort of odd that the roof is still bare, especially given the merger.

Cause they are about to launch a better efficiency solar pannel? That’s what he said in the last call….

Mike, follow the on-going saga of the Public Utility Commission NV Energy’s monopoly on electricity and you will answer your question. As of now solar has been killed in Nevada, until permanent rates are set going forward I’m sure Tesla is waiting to see what happens before they load the roof with panels.

There might be an effect, but if you are feeding power back into the grid, net-metering, instead of storing it on site, is where you get the shaft.
Also, there are probably different rules for big utility scale power producers.

I doubt if NV recent anti-solar stance is delaying implementation of the solar solution in NV. It was designed to curtail homeowner installation of a solar solution, by reducing payments for energy fed back into the grid.

As big as the GF1’s roof is, there’s still multiple floors, even with the new efficient panels, full production will far exceed what they can produce on the roof…It’s been stated they will have solar arrays on the “hilltops” in additional to using geo-thermo…

Tesla plans for wind farms on the surrounding hills. Not sure about solar farms there too. Do you have a citation?

Yes, a business still makes a profit by buying their own solar and paying lower rates to themselves then what NV Energy charges.

Probably mainly waiting for the new panels to be produced but also are waiting to see if the acquisition gets approved…SC themselves have yet to approve the deal, if SC approves it still needs SEC approval and there is certainly a lot of conflict of interest (6 of 7 on Tesla’s board have direct ties to SC)…So the acquisition is far from a lock…

re: 1.5 million gallon water tank.

Two most likely purposes (and could possibly be used as both simultaneously):

Fire protection water – in remote sites like this and for a building this size, the calculated peak flow for a fire event for, say 2 hours, could be 12,000 gpm, which would be around 1.5 million gallons. It is possible the local water district can’t support either that peak flow or have the reserve storage capacity. Remember that this is a LiON battery factory – a lot of flammable stuff!

Other possible purpose – chilled water storage. This plant, when built-out, will have huge peak cooling loads. Chilled water thermal storage is a common way for large facilities to even out the thermal load and reduce chiller equipment size. It also reduces peak electrical load demand which reduces electrical service size and PV array size. Finally, night time temperatures in Reno are very cool even in the middle of the summer, so creating chilled water at night is a lot more energy efficient than during the day. This also reduces the PV array size and investment cost required to make the plant net zero energy.

“creating chilled water at night is a lot more energy efficient than during the day. This also reduces the PV array size”

You had me until this. So you are proposing that they use PV to chill water for thermal storage? But they are going to do this at night…

They have batteries… remember?

Rexx, if you do a back of the envelope calculation of costs, you’ll very quickly see that even Tesla can’t economically use large scale battery storage of electrical power for night-time use.

They might have a relatively small bank of batteries for smoothing out spikes in demand; perhaps several Tesla PowerPacks. But they won’t be cycling batteries for offsetting the bulk of the day/night differential in generation and usage of electricity.

No, it means they’re going to chill the water at night using the cool desert atmosphere, and then use that water in the daytime to replace part of a conventional electrically-powered HVAC system, which in turn means they need fewer PV panels in the daytime.

You’re reducing the day time peak load by cooling this volume of water at night and with better efficiency or payback.
All cooling done efficiently at night save what you have to do with pain in the day.
So, reduce energy need and power globaly.

My guess is that the bulk of the water will be used as a heat sink for ground loop heat pump heating/cooling. That’s mostly passive cooling, using loops of pipes buried far enough underground to maintain an even year-round temperature.

That would be a significant reduction in energy use for the factory, over using refrigeration-based air conditioning and traditional central heating.

Note the passive heat sink/heat pump system would have dual use; air conditioning the entire building for human comfort, as well as a high capacity cooling system in places where the industrial processes generate a lot of heat.

ground source heat pump not likely. The cost per ton of cooling is too high relative to a high efficiency industrkal water-cooled chiller system using evaporatively-cooled condenser water from a cooling tower. The Gigafactory will require lots of year-round process cooling, not much heat.

They probably can self-heat the plant and offices with recovered heat from the process cooling loop.

Nevada air is very dry = low humidity = low wet-bulb temperature – especially at night. The current generation of large chillers (>1,000 tons) is about 0.3 kW per ton in environments like Reno. That is about 40 EER – better than any ground source heat pump.

seriously?
Renewable energy isn’t just solar panels or a tank, if you are going to gush about renewable energy, at least know more than the average guy. Try reading Zax Vagen’s book about renewable energy, it’s on Amazon

“The company funded a permit for a fire safety command center and also donated a fire truck to the local Nevada fire department for Storey County.”

A diesel powered fire truck or electric with ludicrous mode? Or maybe even emergency mode?

I SO want to see a ludicrous mode fire truck beating a Hellcat on the drag strip!

=)

Quote:

“Building permits show for expansion to a fourth and fifth area. Areas D and E will cost $63 million and are projected to be complete by the end of the year. The current total Gigafactory, with all areas included, is only 14% of the planned finished space”

14% of total floor space. Worth repeating.

It’s a pilot factory as of mid-2016, plain and simple.

The entire Gigafactory will/would need billions in additional investments by both Tesla and/or Panasonic.

PS: Still no additional partners/suppliers Tesla talked about since 2014 (!) that would invest money in addition to Panasonic.

The battery factory will have to cycle each new cell at least a couple of times as part of the production and Q&A process. Optimally, they could use that very process, instead of or in addition to the grid, to even out their power requirements.