Tesla, Panasonic to begin production of solar cells in New York

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Linus Unah – Fourth Estate Contributor

Palo Alto, CA, United States (4E) – U.S. electric car maker Tesla Motors have finalized agreement with Japan’s Panasonic to start manufacturing photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules at Tesla’s factory in Buffalo, New York.

Production of the first PV modules will begin in the summer next year, with output capacity expected to increase to 1 Gigawatt of module production by 2019, both companies said in a joint statement.

These high-efficiency PV cells and modules would 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,” Palo Alto, California-based Tesla said in a statement.

Although their statement didn’t include any financial figures, Yayoi Watanabe, a spokeswoman for the Japanese electronics company told Bloomberg via phone that it will invest more than 30 billion yen ($256 million) on the installation of production equipment.

Tuesday’s announcement extends ties between the two companies, which are jointly building a $5 billion lithium-ion gigafactory in Nevada.

The solar products from the Buffalo factory will also work seamlessly with Tesla’s energy storage products like Powerwall and Powerpack , according to the statement.

Under the deal, the Japanese electronics company will cover required capital costs in Buffalo, while Tesla is making a long-term purchase commitment from Panasonic.

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