Tesla and Panasonic announced a partnership on PV cell and module production and they plan to build production lines in Buffalo, New York. Some sources specified that the production lines in Buffalo are actually referring to SolarCity’s 1GW HJT lines and Panasonic will help integrate PV technology.
SolarCity acquired Silevo in 2014 and built heterojunction (HJT) cell lines in China, according to foreign media Recharge. This collaboration between Panasonic and Tesla may indicate some sort of technology deepening in this area. But details can’t be confirmed from Panasonic’s and Tesla’s official statement.
Yet, SolarCity insists Silevo’s technology will be blended with Panasonic’s own heterojunction with intrinsic thin-film layer (HIT) solar technology, given the similarities between them. “SolarCity/Silevo technology remains an important and applicable component of the end solar module,” Kady Cooper, SolarCity’s director of communications, said in an emailed statement. “Both SolarCity/Silevo and Panasonic have been working on similar cell architecture on similar process equipment already,” Cooper says. “Together we will combine the best cell components and integrate them into the new solar module that will be produced in Buffalo, New York.”
It seems that Panasonic and Tesla will take over SolarCity’s uncompleted HJT capacity of 1GW at Buffalo factory, which is consistent to EnergyTrend’s previous projection. Cooper says manufacturing is still expected to commence during the summer of 2017. The plant will become the largest PV factory in the western hemisphere.
According to Tesla’s announcement, Panasonic would operate the taxpayer-supported factory, and sell finished PV modules to Tesla under a long-term supply agreement.