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Collaboration on Solar Manufacturing between Tesla and Panasonic

Collaboration on Solar Manufacturing between Tesla and Panasonic
To manufacture solar cells and panels at a New York factory, Elon Musk's Tesla Motors would collaborate with its longstanding battery partner, Japan's Panasonic Corp, the car maker said.
The electric car maker said in a statement issued late on Sunday that the  agreement, a non-binding letter of intent, is contingent on shareholder approval of Tesla's acquisition of SolarCity Corp. Officials in New York said production would take place at a factory SolarCity is building in Buffalo even though financial terms were not disclosed.
To “begin collaborating on the manufacturing and production of photovoltaic cells and modules in Buffalo, New York,” Tesla has entered into a nonbinding agreement with Panasonic, the automaker said in a blog post on Sunday night.
Tesla intends to provide a long-term purchase commitment for those cells that would be manufactured by Panasonic which is expected to begin at the Buffalo facility in 2017.
A solar energy system that will work seamlessly with its energy storage products Powerwall and Powerpack and Tesla said it will use the cells and modules in the system.
As part of a strategy to build a clean-energy consumer brand, Tesla is acquiring SolarCity, in which Musk is also a large shareholder and is run by his first cousins.
A new kind of solar panel that would be the most efficient yet at transforming sunlight into electricity would be manufactured as the plant, SolarCity said last year.
In return for $750 million in tax breaks and other investments by the state, SolarCity has pledged to spend $5 billion over 10 years on its RiverBend factory in New York. A part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's pledge to spend $1 billion on economic development in the Buffalo region is the state funding that is being provided.
Within five years of the factory’s opening, the company promised to create 500 factory jobs and 960 additional jobs in Buffalo, and 2,000 other jobs in the state.
According to Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing the project, the plant is expected to start churning out products by the end of June and construction of the building is set to be completed next month.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised Tesla’s plans Monday, saying: “Tesla’s partnership with Panasonic will bring world-class manufacturing expertise to the table, strengthen the company’s competitiveness and position the entire region for future economic revitalization.”
“We are excited to expand our partnership with Panasonic as we move toward a combined Tesla and SolarCity,” said Tesla Chief Technical Officer J.B. Straubel in the blog post.
Shuuji Okayama, vice president, Eco Solutions Company of Panasonic, added, “We expect that the collaboration talks will lead to growth of the Tesla and Panasonic relationship.”
However a Panasonic spokeswoman in Japan declined to offer details on the collaboration. SolarCity and Tesla did not immediately respond to queries sent to a SolarCity spokeswoman who said she could direct questions to both companies.
Panasonic is already supplying the U.S. automaker to supply batteries for the Model 3, Tesla's first mass-market car.
Tesla said it would provide plans for the combined company ahead of the vote on Nov. 17 where the shareholders of Tesla and SolarCity Corp are scheduled to vote on the proposed merger.
Electric batteries, along with Panasonic’s panels, are planned to be sold to residential, commercial and utility customers, Tesla said. The panels would be sold,  financed and installed by SolarCity.
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Christopher J. Mitchell

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