A few months after SolarCity bought the former headquarters of the defunct solar panel manufacturer, Solyndra, Tesla is now announcing that they signed a lease for the 500,000 square feet plant Solyndra used to operate. The building is located just a few minutes away from Tesla’s Fremont factory.
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Tesla’s current factory, the former NUMMI plant, has a full capacity of about 500,000 cars per year, but the company expects to be at a production rate of 2,000 cars per week by the end of the year. The car manufacturer obviously still has room to grow at the current plant.
Of course Tesla is not only a car manufacturer anymore, they also plan on manufacturing battery packs for stationary energy storage, but Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, said that the company planned to transfer the production of these battery packs to their “Gigafactory” in Nevada once the pilot plant will be completed in 2016. Tesla didn’t confirmed whether they will manufacture cars or battery packs at the new location, but they said in an email to the Business Journal:
“901 Page, located conveniently down the road from the Tesla Factory, gives us the space to expand our manufacturing and build more engineering labs as we build up production,”
There’s some irony to Tesla securing a former Solyndra location. Both companies received loans from the Department of Energy under different programs, and after Solyndra went under and Tesla was in financial difficulties, the Obama administration was criticized by then presidential candidate Mitt Romney for picking “losers”. Musk took the statement personally and even tried to contact the Romney clan.
Now a few years later, Tesla Motors is arguably in the best financial shape it has ever been in and they are picking up the last vestige of the defunct Solyndra just a few months after SolarCity, a company Musk is also chairman of, bought the former headquarters of the defunct solar panel-maker. SolarCity is using the building to house Silevo, a solar-panel maker they acquired last year.