February 26 (Renewables Now) - Japan’s Panasonic Corp (TYO:6752) and Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) are ending their joint solar cell production in Buffalo, Now York, the Nikkei Asian Review reports.
The two companies formed a joint venture (JV) to manufacture solar cells at Tesla’s Gigafactory 2 facility four years ago. The deal signed near the end of 2016 envisaged a significant investment by the Japanese electric vehicle (EV) maker and a long-term purchase commitment by Tesla for its Solar Roof photovoltaic (PV) panels. The duo aimed to produce over 1 GW of solar products at the factory, which Tesla inherited from SolarCity after acquiring the solar installer in late 2016.
According to the report, the Panasonic cells produced at the Buffalo site have failed to resemble regular black roof tiles while also achieving the efficiency and cost sought by Tesla.
Reuters reported last year that the Japanese firm was selling most of the PV cell factory’s output to HRD Singapore, a major supplier to Ichigo, and not to Tesla, as demand from the US group was irregular. It later became clear that Tesla’s Solar Roof is made with Chinese cells.
Panasonic and Tesla will continue their partnership on the production of EV batteries for Tesla’s vehicles at the Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. A new use for the Buffalo site could be unveiled at an investor meeting in April, the Nikkei said without providing sources.