Tesla's Solar Roof Solution Isn't For the United States

Andrew Cummings
May 18, 2019

Tesla employs 329 workers on the manufacturing unit whereas its accomplice, Panasonic Corp, has about 400 employees there, the order talked about. Panasonic manufactures solar cells and assembles panels at the factory for Tesla and others.

Last month, Tesla reported a 36-percent slide in its overall solar sales in the first quarter, adding to previous big drops since the SolarCity acquisition.

(Reuters) - The "great majority" of solar cells being produced at Tesla Inc's factory in upstate NY are being sold overseas instead of being used in the company's trademark "Solar Roof" as originally intended, according to documents reviewed by Reuters. Details of the deal were scarce, but it was understood that the electric vehicle (EV) maker would buy the cells for its solar business, previously known as SolarCity, and use them in the Tesla Solar Roof.

This is a new market that arose after the Trump administration imposed tariffs on overseas-made panels in 2018, according to Reuters.

The background: Tesla bought SolarCity for $2.6 billion in late 2016, in a deal that was heavily criticized because of SolarCity's huge debt load and Tesla chief executive Elon Musk's connections to the company.

Tesla shares were down 0.51 percent at $231.13 at the time of publication Wednesday. Panasonic is Tesla's sole battery supplier for its electric auto business, but Musk last month blamed Panasonic for EV production delays.

That request was granted in April.

"It is fully anticipated that the majority of the cells to be produced" in the FTZ "will be exported", the company said in its application.

A major solar manufacturing partnership in Buffalo was announced near the end of 2016 and envisaged a significant investment by Panasonic and a long-term purchase commitment by Tesla.

Panasonic's Buffalo operation is one of few USA -based solar cell producers because it is traditionally far cheaper to make the components in other countries, putting it in a unique position to serve the foreign demand.

A Panasonic source said much of the exported material was going to a large Asian buyer. The corporate used to be required to dangle now not now not up to 500 employees within the pronounce by April 30 as segment of its commitment to Unique York, which supplied $750 million in subsidies for the potential.

"We are pleased that Tesla is reporting that it has exceeded its job and investment commitments, invested $381 million over the course of the project, and become host to almost 800 full-time employees working at the manufacturing facility", said Pamm Lent, an Empire Development Corp. spokeswoman.

Tesla is required to increase the number of employee to 1,460 by the end of April 2020 and it seems that the production of non-solar products is the only safe way to meet the requirements. Not once since the fall of 2013 had Tesla - or SolarCity before it - introduced under 73 megawatts of sun based producing limit amid a solitary quarter.

Other reports by iNewsToday