Panasonic stops working with Tesla to produce solar panels at the New York plant. Yet another chapter in saga of setbacks between the American electric car manufacturer and the Japanese company.
Tesla said Panasonic’s exit from the solar cell operations with Tesla has nothing to do with Tesla’s ongoing operations.
In exchange for government subsidies of $750 million, Tesla pledged to hire 1,460 employees in Buffalo, including 500 at the plant, within two years of completing the facility. The plan was to $5 billion on staff for a decade. Tesla fulfilled this promise.
The cessation of solar cell production at Tesla’s New York plant hits just as Panasonic tries to get rid its books of operations in the red.
Announcing a partnership with Tesla in 2016, Panasonic said it would invest more than 30 billion yen ($271.96 million) in a Buffalo plant.
Tesla has drastically reduced its solar business in the US, so Panasonic is forced to supply most of its solar cells to overseas customers, instead of selling them to Tesla for Solar Roof, as originally intended.
Panasonic has already reduced its own solar cell business in other countries amid pressure from cheaper Asian competitors.
Panasonic will continue to participate in a joint venture with Tesla
Panasonic, however, will continue to participate in a joint venture with Tesla for the production of car batteries in Nevada, which has just reported its first quarterly profit after many years of production problems and delays.
Tesla is trying to revive the solar business, but so far without success. Elon Musk offered customers in some states the ability rent or lease solar systems from Tesla. These solar systems could come fully which are installed on the roofs of residential buildings, with or without a contract. The offer is available in six states and will cost customers from $50 per month ($65 per month in California).
Shareholders are also unhappy with the SolarCity acquisition and even filed a lawsuit, accusing the company of providing erroneous analysis and misleading investors.