Tesla reiterates commitment to expanding solar product manufacturing in the US after new tariffs

Tesla’s manufacturing effort at Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, which it took over as part of its acquisition of SolarCity, has seen some delays over the last year.

But the company now reiterates its commitment to expanding solar product manufacturing in the US following Trump’s solar tariff decision.

A Tesla spokesperson sent us the following statement after Trump’s administration announced a new 30 % tariff on imported solar panels yesterday:

“Tesla is committed to expanding its domestic manufacturing, including Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York, regardless of the solar tariff decision today.”

Tesla partnered with Panasonic at the factory. The Japanese electronics giant has been manufacturing solar modules at the plant since this summer, but they have been using solar cells imported from their overseas factories, which means that those panels will be partly affected by the new tariff.

But Panasonic was ‘getting ready’ to start producing solar cells at Tesla Gigafactory 2 last month and the first 2.5GW of solar cells imported will not be tariffed under the new program.

Panasonic’s cells will be used for both module and solar roof tile production, which should eventually help Tesla’s products completely escape the new solar tariff for its solar installations.

Tesla started producing solar roof tiles at the location earlier this month and Panasonic’s solar cell manufacturing is expected to start in the next few months.

They plan to ramp up production to at least 1 GW of annual capacity in order to support their own solar projects.

Electrek’s Take

We expect that once Panasonic is producing solar cells in volume at Tesla’s Gigafactory 2, the new tariff will actually become a competitive edge for Tesla. However, the company will be negatively affected by the tariff in the short-term since it still relies on imported panels for most of its solar installations.

As we reported yesterday, we expect that the new tariff will result in a moderate increase in price for some residential projects, but it could quickly be absorbed as the market adapts to the new regulations.

Solar and energy storage prices are highly dependent on your market (electricity cost, gov incentives, etc.) and your property. We suggest getting quotes from more than one installer to make sure you get the best energy solution for your place. UnderstandSolar is a great free service to link you to top-rated solar installers in your region for personalized solar estimates for free.

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