Panasonic Investing $256M In Tesla’s New York Plant For Solar Cells

Tesla’s New York production facility is getting an investment from a known partner. Panasonic will be investing more than $259 million (30 billion yen) in the facility to make PV (photovoltaic) cells and modules, deepening its partnership with the automaker, reports Reuters.

Production to start in summer 2017

The Japanese company has been shifting from low-margin consumer electronics to focus more on automotive components and other businesses targeting corporate clients. Tesla will provide infrastructure and factory buildings, although that’s not all.

“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 companies said in a press release.

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In a joint statement on Tuesday, the two companies said they plan to commence production of the PV modules in the summer of 2017, and increase it to one gigawatt of module production by 2019. Panasonic’s high-efficiency PV cells and modules will be used in non-solar roof products, said Tesla.

Further the statement said, “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.”

The EV firm plans to create 1,400 jobs in Buffalo (including more than 500 manufacturing jobs).

This plan is actually a part of the solar partnership that the two announced in October, notes Reuters. The two companies have not shared any investment details.

Tesla and Panasonic strengthening their partnership

To supply batteries for its upcoming Model 3, Tesla’s first mass-market car, the EV maker is working exclusively with longtime partner Panasonic. The Japanese company is also the exclusive supplier of batteries to the Model X and Model S.

Previously, the EV firm said that it would use the modules and cells produced in Buffalo, New York in a solar system that will work smoothly with its energy storage systems, the Powerpack and Powerwall. Thereafter, it will take advantage of the installation, financial capabilities, and sales of SolarCity (a company Tesla acquired last month for $2 billion) to bring the solar-plus-storage solution to consumers across the commercial, grid-scale, and residential segments.

Also Panasonic will support the U.S. firm in the development of next-generation solar technology at SolarCity’s facility in Fremont, California.

On Monday, Tesla shares closed up 2.35% at $213.64. Year to date, the stock is down more than 11%, while in the last six months, it is up more than 10%.