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US: Tesla promises to build solar panels, only if the SolarCity merger passes

 |  October 17, 2016

Tesla Motors and Panasonic Corp., its key battery partner, will expand their relationship to solar panels if Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s proposed merger with financially challenged SolarCity wins shareholder approval next month.

In a blog post, Tesla announced plans to work with Japan’s Panasonic Corp. to make photovoltaic cells and modules in Buffalo, New York, where SolarCity is working to open the largest solar panel factory in North America. If the merger is approved on Nov. 17, Panasonic would start making cells and modules in Buffalo in mid-2017. The devices would be used for a solar energy system to charge Tesla’s Powerwall and Powerpack stationary electricity storage units, the company said.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Panasonic as we move towards a combined Tesla and SolarCity,” JB Straubel, Tesla’s chief technical officer and co-founder, said 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.”

Panasonic will essentially operate the Buffalo factory in conjunction with Tesla-SolarCity. Tesla in turn will make a long-term commitment to buy cells produced there from the electronics industry giant. Tesla’s post didn’t clarify whether Panasonic would ultimately purchase the Buffalo facility that’s still under construction, nor did it provide financial details of the arrangement.

“We expect that the collaboration talks will lead to growth of the Tesla and Panasonic relationship,” Shuuji Okayama, vice president of Panasonic’s Eco Solutions unit, in a statement, without elaborating.

Full Content: Forbes

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