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Tesla and Panasonic Will Collaborate to Make Solar Cells and Modules

Electric car and energy storage juggernaut Tesla will team up with Panasonic to begin manufacturing photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules at a factory in Buffalo, NY.

As part of the agreement, Panasonic will cover required capital costs in Buffalo and Tesla is making a long-term purchase commitment from Panasonic. 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.

The Buffalo plant will produce high-efficiency PV cells and modules for use in solar panels, and Tesla will also incorporate Panasonic's cells into the many kinds of solar glass tile roofs that Tesla has announced it will be manufacturing. All of these solar products are expected to work with Tesla’s energy storage products, Powerwall and Powerpack.

Production of the first PV modules will begin in summer 2017, and the plan is to ramp up production to a gigawatt of module production by 2019.

Tesla also reaffirmed a commitment made by SolarCity, the sister company it acquired this fall, to create over 1,400 jobs in Buffalo, including more than 500 manufacturing jobs. Panasonic will also contribute its expertise in PV production to help Tesla develop next generation PV technology at SolarCity’s facility in Fremont, CA, Tesla said in a release.

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