Tesla announces deal with Panasonic for solar cell manufacture

Image: Mike Groll/Associated Press

Tesla has announced an expansion of its collaboration with Panasonic Corp, with a letter of intent for production of photovoltaic cells and modules at Buffalo, New York.

AP reports that the project depends on shareholders approving Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity – also chaired by entrepreneur Elon Musk – approving the takeover of SolarCity.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Panasonic as we move toward a combined Tesla and SolarCity. By working together on solar, we will be able to accelerate production of high-efficiency, extremely reliable solar cells and modules at the best cost,” JB Straubel, chief technical officer at Tesla, said via the company’s corporate blog.

The deal would see a long-term purchase commitment from Tesla of these cells, which would reportedly integrate seamlessly with Tesla’s Powerwall and Powerpack solar energy products.

The Buffalo site is under construction, and Panasonic expects to begin production next year. The Japan-based company currently supplies batteries for Tesla’s Model 3 vehicle.

The Wall Street Journal notes that SolarCity has over $US 3 billion in debt, and has not been profitable since listing in 2012.


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