Tesla and Panasonic have reached an agreement to begin the manufacturing of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, bringing 1,400 jobs to the Buffalo, New York factory, including more than 500 manufacturing positions.
These high-efficiency PV cells and modules will 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, both companies revealed in a statement.
As part of the agreement, Panasonic will cover required capital costs in Buffalo —US$ 256 million on the installation of production equipment, according to Bloomberg— while Tesla will make a long-term purchase commitment from Panasonic.
All of these solar products will work with Tesla’s energy storage products, Powerwall and Powerpack, the automaker said. Production of the first PV modules will begin in summer 2017, and will ramp to 1 Gigawatt of module production by 2019.
Panasonic, with its technological and manufacturing expertise in PV production, will also work with Tesla on developing PV next generation technology at SolarCity’s facility in Fremont, California.
The collaboration extends the established relationship between Tesla and Panasonic, which includes the production of electric vehicle and grid storage battery cells at the Tesla Gigafactory.