Back in October, Tesla confirmed working on a deal with Panasonic for the production of solar cells and modules at SolarCity’s Buffalo solar ‘Gigafactory’. Early this morning, Tesla announced that they closed the deal with Panasonic and they clarified the products they will make at the factory.
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As we reported following the announcement of the non-binding letter of intent, the solar product manufacturing deal is similar to Tesla and Panasonic’s battery manufacturing deal in the sense that it also includes the production of cells used to make other products. In the case of batteries at the Gigafactory in Nevada, Panasonic manufactures the cells which Tesla then uses to manufacture the battery packs.
In Buffalo, Panasonic will manufacture solar cells that will be used by Tesla to build its solar roof products, but additionally, it looks like Panasonic will also build its own cells and modules for solar panels:
These high-efficiency PV cells and modules will be used to produce solar panels in the non-solar roof products. When production of the solar roof begins, Tesla will also incorporate Panasonic’s cells into the many kinds of solar glass tile roofs that Tesla will be manufacturing.
The company reaffirms the goal to ramp to 1 Gigawatt of module production by 2019, but it’s not clear if that’s just for the solar panels or for the solar products also.
Tesla announced that Panasonic agreed to cover the capital costs required in Buffalo against a long-term purchase agreement of the solar products Panasonic plans to manufacture at the plant. Again, it’s a deal similar to what the companies already have at the battery Gigafactory in Nevada. The investment will represent more than 30 billion yen ($256 million), according to Panasonic.
Additionally, Panasonic will join Tesla’s solar R&D team acquired through the SolarCity merger and based in Fremont. They will work “on developing PV next generation technology.”
Tesla also reaffirms the start of production for “summer 2017” and SolarCity’s commitment to create over 1,400 jobs in Buffalo.
Here’s the press release in full:
Tesla and Panasonic Will Begin Manufacturing Solar Cells and Modules in Buffalo, NY
December 27, 2016
Tesla and Panasonic have finalized an agreement this week to begin the manufacturing of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules at the Buffalo, NY factory. These high-efficiency PV cells and modules will be used to produce solar panels in the non-solar roof products. When production of the solar roof begins, Tesla will also incorporate Panasonic’s cells into the many kinds of solar glass tile roofs that Tesla will be manufacturing. All of these solar products will work seamlessly with Tesla’s energy storage products, Powerwall and Powerpack. Production of the first PV modules will begin in summer 2017, and will ramp to 1 Gigawatt of module production by 2019.
As Tesla and Panasonic begin production, Buffalo will continue to expand Tesla’s American manufacturing base and create thousands of new jobs in the coming years. Tesla reaffirms SolarCity’s commitment to create over 1,400 jobs in Buffalo—including more than 500 manufacturing jobs. Panasonic, with its technological and manufacturing expertise in PV production, will also work with Tesla on developing PV next generation technology at SolarCity’s facility in Fremont, CA.
As part of the agreement, Panasonic will cover required capital costs in Buffalo and Tesla is making a long-term purchase commitment 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 the Tesla Gigafactory.”