SolarCity to manufacture cells in Tesla-Panasonic partnership

Oct 17, 2016

Tesla and Panasonic have entered into a non-binding letter of intent under which they will begin collaborating on the manufacturing and production of photovoltaic cells and modules in Buffalo.

Under this agreement, which is contingent upon shareholders' approval of Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity, Tesla will use the cells and modules in a solar energy system that will work seamlessly with Powerwall and Powerpack, Tesla’s energy storage products. With the aid of installation, sales and financing capabilities from SolarCity, Tesla will bring an integrated sustainable energy solution to residential, commercial and grid-scale customers.

The parties intend for Panasonic to begin PV cell and module production at the Buffalo facility in 2017. Tesla intends to provide a long-term purchase commitment for those cells 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 Tesla’s Gigafactory.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Panasonic as we move towards a combined Tesla and SolarCity," said JB Straubel, Chief Technical Officer and Co-founder of Tesla in a statement. "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.”

Shuuji Okayama, Vice-President of Eco Solutions Company of Panasonic, added, “Panasonic PV cells and modules boast industry-leading power generation performance and achieve high quality and reliability. We expect that the collaboration talks will lead to growth of the Tesla and Panasonic relationship.”

Tesla said the continued partnership between the two companies is an important step in creating fully-integrated energy production.

On Wednesday, Tesla and SolarCity took another significant step towards combining the companies. Each company set November 17, 2016 as the date of its shareholder meeting to vote on the acquisition and final proxy materials are now being mailed to each company’s shareholders.

If shareholders approve the transaction, a combined Tesla and SolarCity will be able to provide the first ever opportunity to generate, store and consume energy entirely sustainably, through a suite of integrated products that add aesthetics and function while reducing cost. By leveraging SolarCity’s installation network and Tesla’s global retail footprint, the company said it will be seamless for customers and expected to create significant value for shareholders.