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Tesla’s Gigafactory: A Grand Opening And Nowhere Near Done With Construction

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The following is from a firm which tracked the costs for Elon Musk‘s gigafactory – some interesting facts – check it out below

We got some new permits for the Tesla Gigafactory so I thought I’d reach out. Since they are having their grand opening tomorrow I thought you might want some building permit data as background for your story.

Below are a few things that I found interesting but all permits and more info can be found on our Gigafactory page

Here is a summary of the work since BuildZoom’s coverage about a month ago: 

  • The total value of work since we last checked in has been 63 million dollars, bringing the total for the entire project to 386 million dollars. 
  • First, and perhaps most relevant to the opening, is on July 18th Tesla filed a permit for a “temporary tent structure” for a “special event”. While I can’t be sure, the $300,000 tent might be for the grand opening. 
  • The biggest single permit was a 22 million dollar permit for the “Section F Expansion”.
  • The first permits related to Panasonic work were issued to Tesla on June 28th and July 13th. The two permits are for the installation of Panasonic tools. The two permits were both designated to section B/C and totaled 16.2 million dollars. 
  • There was also 14.4 million dollars worth of addenda to sections D/E. 
  • There was 9.4 million dollars in “seismic anchoring” issued in permits.
  • There was 350,000 dollars across two permits for contractor lunch tents, perhaps related to the increase in construction workers they recently took on. 
  • There was also a parking expansion and while I don’t know what a “Nitrogen Yard” is there was a permit for one. 


The grand opening of the Tesla Gigafactory is set for July 29th, so we decided to look into the enormous project’s building permits. Construction of the 5.8 million square foot factory began in April 2014 with an excavation permit, and has since required 83 additional building permits. According to the permits filed with Storey County, NV, the estimated cost of construction permitted so far is $322.6 million, and it has brought in a total of $1.9 million in fees to the county. However, according to Bloomberg, the project was only 14% complete as of May so there could very well be additional permits on the way.

Estimates of the time of completion from the permits indicate that 18 of the 84 permits issued to Tesla will not be finished in time for the grand opening. However, the “Battery Cell Manufacturing Equipment Installation” is estimated to be complete on July 20th, just in time for the big event.

The work permitted so far spans everything from foundation and site work to the different types of interior work. Something we found different about this project is that Tesla filed the majority of their own building permits and is actually the contractor for the project. This means, that Tesla had to acquire a contractor license in Nevada and has taken on far more work than if they had just hired a General Contractor.


The permits shed light on some specific elements of the factory. For example, the factory has a 1.5 million gallon water tank. That is twice the amount of water held in an olympic pool.

Safety is evidently a serious concern for Tesla. In addition to its four part foundation to protect it from earthquakes – most buildings have just one – it also has a cell safety test building and a giant chiller yard, presumably used for testing batteries and keeping the air and machinery cool. Further, in addition to donating afire engine to the local fire department, Tesla spent a total of $4.7 million on fire safety, including a permit for a fire command center.

The building also has a guard shack and a data center, each costing an estimated $50 thousand.

Stay up to date with the remainder of the project including all solar and wind installations coming soon by following the property, or check out the timeline with all the permits here.

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