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Tesla expands Gigafactory Nevada solar array toward goal to become world’s biggest

New satellite images show that Tesla significantly expanded its rooftop solar array at Gigafactory Nevada as it aims for it to become the world’s biggest.

In 2017, Tesla announced plans for a giant 70 MW rooftop array at Gigafactory Nevada, which would be the largest in the world by a wide margin. The project has been lagging for a long time. Tesla finally started construction of the solar array in 2018 and expanded on it throughout the next few years, but it has never grown near the size Tesla has been talking about.

Last summer, the automaker said that it had deployed 3.2 MW at the site. At the time, Tesla also changed its goal to deploy 24 MW instead of 70 MW on the rooftop of the factory, which itself is now smaller than originally planned. The company said that it believes this would still be enough to be the largest rooftop deployment of solar power.

To be fair, there are much bigger solar farms than 24 MW out there, but Tesla is specifically talking about rooftop solar arrays and not ground-mounted installations.

Now a few months later, it looks like Tesla has made a lot of progress with several more MW of solar power deployed at Gigafactory Nevada based on new satellite images. The image on the left is from September 2021 and the one on the right is from yesterday, January 12 (via Building Tesla):

It’s hard to determine exactly how much capacity Tesla deployed, but it looks like a significant increase over the last few months.

As for the factory itself, it has been expanding in size for a long time. The factory has been producing a lot of battery cells, packs, and drivetrains for Tesla, but the giant structure has been stuck at ~30% completion for the past four years.

There have been no indications that Tesla is going to follow through with its plans to complete the giant building in the near future.

Gigafactory Nevada is used by Panasonic to produce battery cells for Tesla, and the latter use those cells to make battery packs for its electric vehicles at the same location as well as drivetrains and stationary energy storage products, like Powerpacks, Powerwalls, and Megapacks.

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