Tesla Solarglass Roof without Panasonic photovoltaic cells?
The news has nothing to do with the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada and battery cell production.
Panasonic is retiring - reportedly - because after years of struggling there were no profits, just losses. We guess that there was no perspective for a significant improvement in the foreseeable future.
"Tesla and Panasonic announced their joint venture on solar cells in 2016. The Japanese company shouldered costs for part of the equipment at the Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, which began producing core components for solar panels in 2017. Panasonic-made solar cells were also supposed to be used for Tesla's solar panels.
Called the Solar Roof, the Tesla product is designed to look like regular black roof tiles. But Panasonic-made cells are believed to have failed to achieve this look while also maintaining the efficiency and cost sought by the U.S. company."
Well, the results were really underwhelming for solar, although most recently, Tesla managed to launch its Solarglass Roof product and increase the scale. It's said that the solar cells for the third generation of the tiles are supplied by a Chinese manufacturer. That would basically mean the partnership was already weak/mostly ended, but not yet announced.
Panasonic was producing solar cells and panels also for other customers, including Japanese homebuilders, but it sounds rather like an emergency plan.
Separately, the Japanese manufacturer announced in 2019 that it will sell "a key Malaysian plant" to the Chinese company GS-Solar.
Tesla is receiving local subsidies for the plant, but it's said that there should not be any problems with meeting or even exceeding the required level of employment (1,460 by April 2020) to avoid any consequences ($41.2 million penalty) - reportedly there are already more than 1,500 jobs (plus over 300 across New York State).
Summarizing, Tesla probably will continue to ramp-up the Solarglass Roof with or without Panasonic. We should get a clearer view of the situation in the coming weeks or at an investor meeting in April.