Tesla and Panasonic close a deal to manufacture solar cells
The Californian and Japanese firms have partnered for a long time, as Panasonic have been supplying batteries for Tesla’s electric cars for over a decade. Both companies recently worked together on a 5 billion dollars project to build a battery gigafactory in Nevada. Since Tesla acquired solar energy promoter SolarCity for 2 billion dollars last November and presented its solar roof project, it was natural to extend the partnership with Panasonic to solar cells.
The deal involves a quarter billion dollars investment from Panasonic into an under-construction Solar City plant in Buffalo, New York. The Japanese company will be in charge of producing photovoltaic modules, while in exchange Tesla commits to buy them with a long-term contract. These solar cells will be used into Tesla’s solar panels and tiles.
The production is planned to start in summer 2017, and to reach an output capacity equivalent to 1 GW annually by 2019. At this time, the plant will be the largest manufacturer of photovoltaic modules in North America. The factory will provide 1,400 jobs, including more than 500 manufacturing positions.
Panasonic will also join Tesla’s solar research and development teams to work on developing the next generation of photovoltaic technology.
The partnership was first evoked last October, but was determined by shareholder’s approval for Tesla’s purchase of SolarCity, which happened in mid-November. The Tesla – Panasonic deal was subsequently concluded and made public in late December.