Panasonic investing $256M in Tesla’s Buffalo solar manufacturing plant

December 29, 2016 by  
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Following Tesla ’s recent acquisition of SolarCity, the California-based company just scored another big win. Panasonic will invest more than $256 million in Tesla’s New York solar cell factory. The Japan-based electronics company is already partnering with Tesla to build electric car batteries at its Nevada Gigafactory, and this investment, announced December 27, positions Panasonic more firmly in the automotive industry than ever before, marking the fulfillment of the company’s’s gradual shift away from consumer electronics. Tesla’s production facility in Buffalo is expected to be up and running within just a few months. According to Tuesday’s announcement, production of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules will begin in the summer of 2017. By 2019, the two companies expect to be churning out the equivalent of one gigawatt of solar power modules each year. Related: Tesla taps Panasonic to build solar panels for their Powerwall and Powerpack systems The news of Panasonic ’s hefty investment in the Buffalo manufacturing plant is the first development since Tesla first named the electronics company as its partner in mid-October, which was contingent on the completion of Tesla’s merger with SolarCity . While that initial announcement came with very few details (in part because the merger wouldn’t be finalized for another month), this update illustrates the enormous scope of Panasonic’s commitment to the solar power market. The PV modules Panasonic produces at Tesla’s facility will be used primarily in the Powerwall and Powerpack systems, Tesla’s off-grid power solutions. While Tesla’s “solar roof” is still on deck, there is no word on when production on that line might begin. SolarCity previously promised the creation of over 1,400 jobs at the Buffalo facility and Tesla’s announcement Tuesday reaffirms that commitment and elaborates that the figure includes more than 500 manufacturing jobs—an important footnote for a city that once relied heavily on blue collar industries like steel and automotive manufacturing. Via Reuters Images via SolarCity and Panasonic

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Panasonic investing $256M in Tesla’s Buffalo solar manufacturing plant

Tesla confirms SolarCity acquisition is complete

November 21, 2016 by  
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Last week, Tesla shareholders “overwhelmingly” showed their support for a merger with SolarCity , the solar energy company started by Elon Musk ‘s cousins. On November 21, a Tesla spokesperson confirmed the $2.6 billion acquisition is finished, which will enable Tesla to offer solar power to complement their electric cars and wall batteries . Tesla first floated the idea of an acquisition back in June , saying should the acquisition go through they would be the “world’s only vertically integrated energy company offering end-to-end clean energy products to our customers.” Tesla started Tesla Energy in early 2015, offering products such as the Powerwall battery, and saw a SolarCity acquisition as a logical next step. Related: Tesla shareholders “overwhelmingly” approve SolarCity merger Some people are still concerned the merger doesn’t make a lot of financial sense for Tesla in the short term. CFRA Research analyst Efraim Levy told CNBC about the acquisition, “Whatever the synergies are down the road, it’s negative for current holders.” Some analysts say the SolarCity acquisition is too risky. Tesla has recently unveiled products that make a lot of sense for a combined company, such as solar roof tiles and a glass solar roof for the Model 3. Tesla also indicated they think the merger will be beneficial for their company; in a statement in early November they said SolarCity would “add more than half a billion dollars in cash to Tesla’s balance sheet over the next three years.” Other people point to Musk’s drive as one factor that pushed the deal through, even if it won’t benefit investors right away. Musk addressed the merger in his Master Plan, Part Deux , saying that the fact that Tesla and Solar City were two distinct companies “is largely an accident of history.” He said, “Now that Tesla is ready to scale Powerwall and SolarCity is ready to provide highly differentiated solar, the time has come to bring them together.” Via The Verge Images via SolarCity Facebook and Heisenberg Media on Flickr

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Tesla confirms SolarCity acquisition is complete

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