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Tesla, Panasonic to manufacture PV cells at U.S. factory

Tesla Motors, an American automaker and energy storage company, said Tuesday it has finalized an agreement with Panasonic Corporation, a Japanese electronics manufacturer, to begin the manufacturing of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules at a U.S. factory.

Known for making passenger vehicles powered by batteries for years and acquiring SolarCity, the largest solar energy services provider in the United States, earlier in the year, Tesla said high-efficiency PV cells and modules from the factory in Buffalo, New York state, will be used to produce solar panels in the non-solar roof products.

"When production of the solar roof begins, Tesla will also incorporate Panasonic's cells into the many kinds of solar glass tile roofs that Tesla will be manufacturing," said the company co-founded by Elon Musk and headquartered in Palo Alto, California.

"All of these solar products will work seamlessly with Tesla's energy storage products, Powerwall and Powerpack. Production of the first PV modules will begin in summer 2017, and will ramp to 1 Gigawatt of module production by 2019," it added in a statement.

By reaffirming commitment by SolarCity, headquartered in San Mateo, California, to create over 1,400 jobs in Buffalo, including more than 500 manufacturing jobs, Tesla promised that when it works with Panasonic to begin production, Buffalo, an industrial capital in the early 20th century, "will continue to expand Tesla's American manufacturing base and create thousands of new jobs in the coming years."

As part of the agreement, Panasonic will cover required capital costs in Buffalo and Tesla is making a long-term purchase commitment from Panasonic.

And, Panasonic, with its technological and manufacturing expertise in PV production, will also work with Tesla on developing PV next generation technology at SolarCity's facility in Fremont, California.

Tesla said the collaboration extends its established relationship with Panasonic, which includes the production of electric vehicle and grid storage battery cells at the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada.

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