tesla / solarcity
On 140 acres of unused land on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., 70,000 solar panels are part of a solar photovoltaic array that will generate 15 megawatts of solar power for the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Nadine Y. Barclay)

With two potentially ‘unexpected’ announcements scheduled for Wednesday, Tesla has today announced that it has partnered with Panasonic to produce solar panels at a facility in Buffalo, New York. This agreement, which is a non-binding letter of intent, has been signed by both parties but is contingent upon shareholders’ approval of Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity.

With ambitions to deliver the fastest production electric vehicles coupled alongwith sustainable energy solutions to the masses, Telsa plans to collaborate with Panasonic on the manufacturing and production on photovoltaic (solar) cells and modules. These will then be used in a solar energy systems that work seamlessly with Tesla’s energy storage products, i.e Powerwall and Powerpack.

This agreement further extends the already existent partnership between the U.S electric vehicle manufacturer and Japanese electronics behemoth Panasonic. The latter currently helps the former with production of Tesla Model 3 and its batteries at the Gigafactory on the outskirts of Nevada.

Commenting on further expansion of their long-standing relation, JB Straubel, CTO and co-founder of Tesla, says,

We are excited to expand our partnership with Panasonic as we move towards a combined Tesla and SolarCity. 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, VP(Eco Solutions) of Panasonic, also commends the team efforts and adds,

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 Motors and SolarCity, both of which fall under Elon Musk’s legendary empire, have recently proposed a merger deal for $2.6 billion. This acquisition could have been delayed due to multiple shareholder lawsuits questioning Musk’s intentions and the purpose of the deal. But, the shareholders of both companies have agreed to vote on the proposed merger on November 17th.

Once this merger deal is done and dusted, Tesla and Panasonic will work hand-in-hand to create fully-integrated energy products for businesses, home owners and utilities. Both on them intend to begin solar panel production at the Buffalo facility in 2017.

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