Tesla Motors Inc. and Panasonic Corp. are partnering once more this time to produce solar panels. The solar panels will be made at the Buffalo, New York factory that is currently owned by SolarCity Corporation.
Panasonic will build the photovoltaic cells and modules needed to create the solar panels at the Buffalo plant. Tesla will then provide "a long-term purchase commitment" for the parts that Panasonic will produce.
The agreement between the two giant technological companies is "non-binding" as mentioned in a report by CNET. This move by Elon Musk, founder, and CEO of Tesla is seen as part of his plan to acquire SolarCity Corp. which is owned by his cousins Peter and Lyndon Rive. Musk is chairman of SolarCity as well.
The partnership will push through if the merger between Tesla and SolarCity pushes through this November after shareholders take their vote. The Japanese manufacturer will commence making the cells and modules sometime in the middle of 2017 if the merger is approved.
Tesla's co-founder and chief technical officer, JB Straubel, released a statement as reported by Forbes, which read, "We are excited to expand our partnership with Panasonic as we move towards a combined Tesla and SolarCity. By working together on solar, we will be able to accelerate production of high-efficiency, extremely reliable solar cells, and modules at the best cost."
The Buffalo plant is currently under construction. SolarCity started building the factory in line with its efforts to expand to North America. It is not clear whether Panasonic will purchase the factory from Tesla-SolarCity once the deal pushes through.
Tesla and Panasonic have been partners before. The relationship between the two companies goes back to 2009 when Panasonic, the world's leading manufacturer of battery cells, agreed to supply Tesla with automotive grade lithium-ion battery cells. The said batteries were used on Tesla's Model S.