Thu, Dec 29, 2016 - Page 10 News List

Tesla, Panasonic to produce solar cells in New York

Bloomberg

Tesla Motors Inc and Panasonic Corp have completed work on an agreement to begin manufacturing solar cells and modules at Tesla’s factory in Buffalo, New York, which would eventually create about 1,400 jobs in the region.

Production is to begin in the summer, with the factory’s output expanding to 1 gigawatt by 2019, the companies said in a statement on Tuesday.

Osaka, Japan-based Panasonic is to invest more than ¥30 billion (US$255.2 million) on the installation of production equipment, Panasonic spokesman Yayoi Watanabe said by telephone.

The total investment was not disclosed in the statement.

Among the jobs being created are more than 500 manufacturing positions.

Palo Alto, California-based Tesla is expanding its manufacturing base in the US and chief executive Elon Musk is on US president-elect Donald Trump’s business advisory team.

“We already knew about this deal, but now it’s finalized,” Robert W. Baird & Co Inc analyst Ben Kallo said. “Panasonic is covering the capital costs and Tesla is buying the modules. You’re seeing the stock break out a bit.”

Tesla shares rose 3 percent to US$219.84 at 1:09pm in New York on Tuesday, but have declined about 8.2 percent this year.

The announcement underscores deepening ties between Tesla and Panasonic.

The two are building a US$5 billion lithium-ion “gigafactory” east of Reno, Nevada, to produce batteries for both electric cars and energy storage products.

In October, Tesla revealed plans to work with Panasonic to make solar cells and modules.

Tesla has acquired solar installer SolarCity Corp for US$2 billion.

Musk revealed plans for a new solar roof made of glass tiles in late October.

“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,” Tesla said in a blog post.

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