Tesla and Panasonic have agreed to jointly manufacture solar cells and modules for use with Tesla's Powerwall and Powerpack energy storage offerings. The agreement is dependent on Tesla's acquisition of SolarCity being approved by shareholders and, if that goes through, will see SolarCity provide installation, sales and financing support.
Tesla says that the collaboration with Panasonic will contribute towards its aim of creating sustainable and fully-integrated energy products that can be used in homes, as well as by businesses and utilities. Panasonic will manufacture the photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules based on a long-term purchase commitment from Tesla.
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This is not the first time Tesla and Panasonic have collaborated, with the two companies already partnering on a number of fronts. There has been joint work on electric-vehicle production and on the production of grid-storage batteries at Tesla's Gigafactory. Shuuji Okayama, Vice-president of Panasonic's Eco Solutions Company, expects a further strengthening of the relationship between the two companies as a result of the agreement.
"We are excited to expand our partnership with Panasonic as we move towards a combined Tesla and SolarCity," explains chief technical officer and co-founder of Tesla JB Straubel in a blog post. "By working together on solar, we will be able to accelerate production of high-efficiency, extremely reliable solar cells and modules at the best cost."
Assuming Tesla's acquisition of SolarCity goes ahead, production of the PV cells and modules is expected to begin next year in the US city of Buffalo, New York.