Published: Sat, May 18, 2019
Economy | By

Tesla's solar factory is exporting most of its cells - document

Tesla's solar factory is exporting most of its cells - document

Tesla also struck a deal to buy custom solar cells for its products from Panasonic, which in turn agreed to invested $250 million into the gigafactory and set up its own production line there. They are to be sold overseas and are utilized in the organization's trademark "Sun based Roof", confirms records evaluated by Reuters.

The exporting underscores the depth of Tesla's troubles in the USA solar business, which the electric auto maker entered in 2016 with its controversial $2.6 billion purchase of SolarCity.

However, according to an employee at the Buffalo factory who spoke to Reuters, Tesla has sporadically bought solar cells from its partner Panasonic. A majority of the rest will be outsourced to foreign purchasers, as indicated by a Panasonic letter to U.S. Traditions authorities explored by Reuters. Panasonic manufactures solar cells and assembles panels at the factory for Tesla and others. Cells are components that convert the sun's light into electricity; they are combined to make solar panels.

Tesla inherited the factory, known as RiverBend, through its purchase of SolarCity, and is now required to deliver on investment and employment promises that SolarCity had made in exchange for $750 million in state subsidies.

The Wednesday announcement offers some clarity about the Buffalo Gigafactory's future, with Tesla revealing that it has expanded its plans for the plant beyond just solar production.

In the more than two years since Tesla acquired SolarCity, its overall solar installations have plummeted by more than 76%. It's now mostly being used by Panasonic to make solar components, but soon, according to a Thursday report by Electrek, Tesla will give it new goal as the home of Supercharger V3 electronics and energy storage (think Powerwall) production.

Panasonic is reportedly seeking to use its Buffalo operations to fulfill demand for USA -made solar cells from foreign buyers.

Elon Musk presenting one of the solar roof tiles. The Solar Roof was first announced in 2016, but till date there are no official installation figures available.

Earlier this month, Tesla sold $2.3 billion of debt and stock to raise cash.

Tesla reported Wednesday that it has exceeded its 2019 jobs target for NY state, with 632 full-time and four part-time jobs through the end of April - more than the 500 it was required to have. According to the Buffalo News, Tesla is less than a year from a state-imposed deadline stating that it has to basically double the size of its workforce there or get slapped with a $41.2 million penalty.

Panasonic's Buffalo operation is one of few US -based solar cell producers because it is traditionally far cheaper to make the components in other countries, putting it in a unique position to serve the foreign demand.

Today, the companies operate separately at the Buffalo factory, according to one current and one former Panasonic employee.

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