Tesla's trumpeted solar shingles are a flop

16 Mai, 2019, 11:53 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Tesla's trumpeted solar shingles are a flop

A filing from Tesla shows that 329 of the factory's 730 employees are Tesla's own workers.

The electric-vehicle, solar and storage producer must meet certain jobs requirements under an agreement with NY that offered Tesla tax benefits for siting its Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo.

The state of NY remains pleased with its investment in the factory and Panasonic's move to diversify its customer base beyond Tesla. But the company must add hundreds more workers in NY to meet next year's target.

However, according to an employee at the Buffalo factory who spoke to Reuters, Tesla has sporadically bought solar cells from its partner Panasonic. It was required to have at least 500 employees in the state by April 30 of this year in exchange for $750 million in subsidies for the Buffalo facility, which is known as the RiverBend factory. But it still appears likely to fall short of the almost 1,500 employees required by 2020, which would trigger financial penalties and has already prompted sharp criticisms of the deal by some state legislators. He has also said Tesla was looking for more battery suppliers for its new Shanghai vehicle factory.

"We're committed to investing in Buffalo and the State", Tesla said in an emailed statement.

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Tesla said in late 2016 that it had finalized an agreement with Panasonic to begin manufacturing photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules at the Buffalo, NY, factory. It was not immediately clear whether those jobs are included in the count toward meeting the state targets.

Tesla declined to comment on the company's purchases of cells from Panasonic and would not provide figures for Solar Roof installations. "In the coming weeks, ESD will perform the necessary due diligence to verify the data provided by Tesla".

Most of the solar cells made at Tesla's solar factory in Buffalo, New York, are being exported instead of being installed on USA homes as originally planned, as Tesla continues to struggle on the American solar market, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing sources at the factory and documents it has reviewed.

Tesla planned to use them in its Solar Roof, a system meant to look like normal roof tiles.

The Wednesday announcement offers some clarity about the Buffalo Gigafactory's future, with Tesla revealing that it has expanded its plans for the plant beyond just solar production. Gigafactory 2, also known as RiverBend, a joint venture with Panasonic to produce solar panels and roof tiles in Buffalo, New York, U.S., August 2, 2018.

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