Tesla, Panasonic ink deal for $256 million solar plant

The plant in Buffalo, NY will ramp to one gigawatt of module production by 2019.

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(Image: Tesla)

Tesla and Panasonic on Tuesday announced they will begin making photovoltaic cells and modules at a $256 million factory in upstate New York.

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The PV cells and modules will be used in solar panels Tesla will be manufacturing to store power in customers' homes through Tesla's energy storage products, the Powerwall and Powerpack.

Production of the first PV modules will begin in summer 2017, and will ramp to one gigawatt of module production by 2019.

As reported by USA Today, the Buffalo, NY plant was built by a company acquired in 2014 by SolarCity. Tesla acquired SolarCity last month.

"As Tesla and Panasonic begin production, Buffalo will continue to expand Tesla's American manufacturing base and create thousands of new jobs in the coming years," Tesla said in its announcement.

"Tesla reaffirms SolarCity's commitment to create over 1,400 jobs in Buffalo -- including more than 500 manufacturing jobs," it read.

Panasonic will fund the Buffalo plant, with Tesla committing to a long term purchase agreement from the company.

Panasonic will also bring its PV expertise to SolarCity's facility in Fremont, CA.

Tesla and Panasonic have already had a relationship developing electric vehicles and grid storage battery cells at the $5 billion Gigafactory.

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