After the Model 3, Tesla’s ‘solar roof’ is probably the company’s most anticipated product of 2017, which brings some scrutiny to its plans for production – not unlike the Model 3’s production program.
The recent release of information from Tesla and Panasonic led to some confusion over the production of the product at Gigafactory 2, which the company is now clarifying.
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Local media reports (since updated) stated yesterday that Panasonic was “taking over” the factory from Tesla/SolarCity based on comments made by a Panasonic spokesperson. The Japanese electric giant also said that it had “no plan” to manufacture Tesla’s solar roof.
The confusion comes from which company will manufacture what at the plant – something we tried to explain a few times before, but Tesla is now breaking it down in its simplest form possible:
“Tesla will oversee factory operations in Buffalo, and will manufacture solar roof tiles there. Panasonic will manufacture solar cells at the factory, with support from the Silevo team, including cells for the solar roof tiles that will be a hybrid of the Panasonic and Silevo architecture. Panasonic will also manufacture solar panels in Buffalo.”
That’s it. Let’s look at it point-by-point since there are 3 important parts to this statement.
Tesla will oversee factory operations in Buffalo, and will manufacture solar roof tiles there. Panasonic is now investing $250 million in the factory , but like the Gigafactory in Nevada, Tesla is still in charge of the plant, which is why it’s called ‘Gigafactory 2’. Tesla will manufacture the solar tiles, but they will use the cells from Panasonic, which leads us to the second point.
Panasonic will manufacture solar cells at the factory, with support from the Silevo team, including cells for the solar roof tiles that will be a hybrid of the Panasonic and Silevo architecture. Panasonic’s cells manufactured at Gigafactory 2 will be used both in Tesla solar tiles and other solar modules with technology developed by SolarCity’s Silevo, a solar panel manufacturer that it acquired in 2014.
Panasonic will also manufacture solar panels in Buffalo. Beyond just solar cells, Panasonic will also manufacture full solar panels at the factory, which Tesla will then buy for its solar projects. While Tesla’s solar roofs will open the solar market to new constructions and homes needing new roofing, solar panels will remain part of the company’s offering for installations on homes that don’t need a new roof anytime soon since it will be more economical than a solar roof.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of Tesla/Panasonic’s plans for the solar roof products and the Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo.
You can visit Tesla’s website if you wish to take your place in line for when the solar roof becomes available, but solar and energy storage prices are highly dependent on your market (electricity cost, gov incentives, etc.) and your property. We suggest to get quotes from more than one installer to make sure you get the best energy solution for your place – for solar roofs or solar panels. UnderstandSolar is a great free service to link you to top-rated solar installers in your region for personalized solar estimates for free.