May 31 (Renewables Now) - Japan’s Panasonic Corp (TYO:6752) is selling most of the cells it makes in the solar factory in Buffalo, New York to a buyer in the Philippines and not to Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), Reuters said Thursday, citing sources.
The news agency previously reported that the US-made photovoltaic (PV) cells are being sold to foreign customers as demand from Tesla is irregular. Now the name of the buyer has been revealed. This is HRD Singapore, a major supplier to Ichigo, the Japanese real estate investor which has built quite a few solar farms at home already.
It is not known what the Asian companies plan to do with the Panasonic cells, Reuters said.
Solar manufacturing in Buffalo is the result of a the partnership between Tesla and Panasonic, announced near the end of 2016. It envisaged a significant investment by the Japanese company and a long-term purchase commitment by Tesla. At the time it was understood that the electric vehicle (EV) maker would buy the cells for its solar business, previously known as SolarCity, and use them in the Tesla Solar Roof.
Tesla’s solar business has shrunk significantly since 2016. Volumes fell to 522 MW in 2017 from 836 MW the previous year, and then to 326 MW in 2018. Volumes in the first quarter of 2019 were down to 49 MW from 76 MW a year earlier.