Tesla Teams With Panasonic On Manufacturing Of Photovoltaic Cells And Modules

OCT 18 2016 BY MARK KANE 17

Panasonic solar

Panasonic solar

A broader Tesla plan behind the merger with SolarCity has emerged as Tesla announces a non-binding letter of intent on the manufacturing and production of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules with Panasonic at  SolarCity’s Buffalo, New York factory.

The agreement would extend Tesla’s partnership with the Japanese supplier of lithium-ion cells and partner in the Gigafactory project.

Tesla Supercharger station and solar canopy

Tesla Supercharger station and solar canopy

Tesla would like to sign the formal agreement after the merger with SolarCity, and then focus all the elements of new energy approach in one hand – solar electricity generation, lithium-ion battery energy storage and of course electric vehicles, as well as charging infrastructure. As a result, all the production and sales (in volume scale) would be concentrated into one complementary offering.

SolarCity earlier announced its own photovoltaic cell and module production in Buffalo, New York and now the site will be used also for production of Panasonic cells and modules.

It would seem that the company’s original plans of using Silevo’s (factory and IP acquired earlier) ‘most advanced/efficient’ technology (22%) having changed, with the new plan being a combination of both Panasonic and Silevo’s tech  into the same module, sharing componentry.  There has been no word yet on how this might effect overall efficiency of the solar modules produced.

Production is stated to be launched in 2017.

On October 28th, Tesla and SolarCity will present a solar roof product in conjunction with the new Powerwall 2.0.

Tesla statement on the new collaboration:

Panasonic solar

Panasonic solar

“Tesla and Panasonic have entered into a non-binding letter of intent under which they will begin collaborating on the manufacturing and production of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules in Buffalo, New York. Under this agreement, which is contingent upon shareholders’ approval of Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity, Tesla will use the cells and modules in a solar energy system that will work seamlessly with Powerwall and Powerpack, Tesla’s energy storage products. With the aid of installation, sales and financing capabilities from SolarCity, Tesla will bring an integrated sustainable energy solution to residential, commercial, and grid-scale customers.

The parties intend for Panasonic to begin PV cell and module production at the Buffalo facility in 2017. Tesla intends to provide a long-term purchase commitment for those cells 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 Tesla’s Gigafactory.”

“The continued partnership between Tesla and Panasonic is an important step in creating fully-integrated energy products for businesses, home owners and utilities, and furthers Tesla’s mission toward a sustainable energy future.”

JB Straubel, Chief Technical Officer and Co-founder of Tesla, said

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Panasonic as we move towards a combined Tesla and SolarCity. By working together on solar, we will be able to accelerate production of high-efficiency, extremely reliable solar cells and modules at the best cost.”

Shuuji Okayama, Vice-president, Eco Solutions Company of Panasonic, added:

“Panasonic PV cells and modules boast industry-leading power generation performance, and achieve high quality and reliability. We expect that the collaboration talks will lead to growth of the Tesla and Panasonic relationship.”

Hat tip to Peter H!

Categories: Battery Tech, Tesla

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17 Comments on "Tesla Teams With Panasonic On Manufacturing Of Photovoltaic Cells And Modules"

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They Should Produce Plug & Play Solar Kits of Various Capacities for Different size homes & Power demands etc:, cut out all the Red Tape hassle, and difficulty of putting together a system the Old fashioned way.So that the average tech minded person can plug it in and put it together in a weekend’s time by themselves .

The power company lobbyists will make sure this never happens. They want installing solar PV to be a big enough pain in the arse that most sane people won’t want to deal with it.

BINGO…what you describe is exactly what’s happening in Florida this election.

Plugging things together is the easy part. The hard part is the permitting and install process. There are already solar lots that you can by.

Heck, last time I checked Costco even sells them online.

Sounds like Silevo needs a lot of help.

No, it sounds like there might be a lot of demand and instead of waiting for the complete Silevo production to be up and running, Panasonic gives a hand.

And for Panasonic it’s great to have production capacity in the USA (not only for Tesla), on a location that probably will be cheap because of the cooperation the Tesla. It seems like a win-win.

Also, not all roofs need high efficiency panels. If you can bring costs down, normal panels, even being more expensive in installing working hours, might do the trick on large private roofs.

“It would seem that the company’s original plans of using Silevo’s (factory and IP acquired earlier) ‘most advanced/efficient’ technology (22%) having changed . . .”

SolarCity’s claim of having the “most advanced/efficient” PV modules at 22.04% was very short lived as just a few days later Panasonic announced it had produced a 22.5% efficient PV module. That occurred in October 2015. If I was a betting man I would wager that Panasonic has since improved upon their record breaking efficiency, and on October 27 Elon will announce a higher efficiency PV module that Tesla and Panasonic will be incorporating into the panels they will manufacture in the new Buffalo factory.

“Mere days after U.S. solar company SolarCity claimed to have produced the world’s most efficient rooftop PV module – achieving 22.04% module-level efficiency – Japan’s Panasonic has raised the bar even higher with today’s announcement that it has produced a 22.5% efficient solar module based on mass-production technology.”


That means the last alinea of my comment above should be erased.

Doesn’t Sunpower already have panels with greater efficiency?

24.1% 🙂

Let’s see what the next record will be!

They do, their X-Series panels. It’s partly due to improved low-light performance. They also have the most durable panels on the market, offering a 25-yr warranty (the industry normally offers up to 20yr warranties).

For reasons that are not clear to me, SPWR stock has been under $10 for some time, now.


This cooperation might explain why Tesla / SolarCity surprisingly don’t need additional capital right now (loan etc. from Panasonic).

Thats what I see Panasonic funding the solar equipment for a share of the Tesla brand aolar market…

This will proceed apace as the stipulation for it to occur is a foregone conclusion.
I would add something that would be quite shocking to some, others might quietly nod, but that would be telling.

When do Tesla shareholders vote on acquisition of Solar City?

I would think that this announcement would alleviate fear of many shareholders about Solar City requiring an expensive bail-out for this manufacturing plant.

The votes are actually starting to go out now. I got mine over email this morning. Once voted, you can change it until Nov 16 I think.

BRILLIANT STRATEGY…fossil fuel industry is going to fight this to the end by supporting strong man Trump.