Tesla releases more details about its Solar Roof agreement with Panasonic at ‘Gigafactory 2’
In order to bring to market its new series of ‘Solar Roof’ products, Tesla announced last year that they are bringing together a lot of technologies under one roof at their newly acquired factory in Buffalo, now known as ‘Gigafactory 2‘. It includes tech developed in-house by Tesla, some tech by Panasonic, and tech from SolarCity and its subsidiaries.
The deal is somewhat complicated with a lot of moving parts, which now clearly shows why Elon Musk wanted Tesla to acquire SolarCity since it will simplify the complicated partnership.
Through Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity, they inherited an agreement with the Research Foundation for the State University of New York for the construction of an approximately 1 million square foot manufacturing facility, which is now mostly completed.
The deal is under a Build-to-Suit Lease model. Tesla explains the deal in a SEC filing released this week:
“The Foundation will cover (i) construction costs related to the manufacturing facility in an amount up to $350.0 million, (ii) the acquisition and commissioning of the manufacturing equipment in an amount up to $348.1 million and (iii) $51.9 million for additional specified scope costs, in cases (i) and (ii) only, subject to the maximum funding allocation from the State of New York, and we will be responsible for any construction and equipment costs in excess of such amounts. We will own the manufacturing facility and manufacturing equipment purchased by the Foundation. Following completion of the manufacturing facility, we will lease the manufacturing facility and the manufacturing equipment owned by the Foundation from the Foundation for an initial period of 10 years, with an option to renew, for $2 per year plus utilities.”
That’s a pretty sweet deal, but in return, Tesla has to achieve a series of milestone or otherwise it will have to pay penalities.
Here are the main milestones listed in the filing:
- employing a certain number of employees at the facility, within western New York and within the State of New York.
- spend or incur approximately $5.0 billion in combined capital, operational expenses and other costs in the State of New York over the 10 years following the achievement of full production.
What is full production at this new factory?
According to the same filing, Tesla expects “approximately 1 gigawatt annually beginning in 2019.” In the past, SolarCity has referred to the factory as having a 1 GW capacity with potential for up to 5 GW, but it looks like they are sticking to 1 GW for now.
The production of solar cells to make modules and tiles (for Tesla’s solar roof) will use technologies developed by Tesla (Glass), SolarCity’s Zep and Silevo (modules and connections), and Panasonic for the cells and the manufacturing.
Tesla explains the agreement in the filing:
“In December 2016, we entered into a Production Pricing Agreement: Phases 1-3 (the Phase 1-3 Agreement) with Panasonic Corporation, Panasonic Corporation of North America and Sanyo Electronic Co., Ltd (collectively, Panasonic). This agreement provides that Panasonic will manufacture custom photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules for us, primarily at Gigafactory 2, and that we will purchase certain amounts of PV cells and modules from Panasonic during the 10-year term, with the intent to produce PV cells and modules totaling approximately 1 gigawatt annually beginning in 2019.”
Panasonic said that it plans to make a $250 million investment in the manufacturing effort.
This deal is somewhat similar to the deal Tesla and Panasonic have at the Gigafactory 1 where they collaborated on the development of a new battery cell, which Panasonic ultimately ends up being the manufacturer under a long-term agreement for Tesla to purchase the output.
In the case of Gigafactory 1, Tesla uses the cells to make its battery packs for cars, Powerwalls, and Powerpacks, while at Gigafactory 2, Tesla will use the cells to make solar roof tiles and modules.
Tesla still expects to start production of the solar roof at Gigafactory 2 in “summer 2017”. The expectations for the product are high since Musk said that Tesla’s solar roof will cost less than a regular roof – even before energy production.
Who wouldn’t want to get a lifetime supply of free electricity? Well, that can be realized only if you install a dependable and durable solar power system. Solar power is free but only after the installation of the power system. Conventional electricity comes from the burning of fossil fuels that in turn contribute to global warming. The effects of global warming are quite evident nowadays. Many people are now interested in saving the environment to prevent the devastating effects of pollution. One way to decrease pollution and environmental concerns is through the use of solar power.
Solar power can be used in different ways especially in households. You can use it for lighting, for cooking, for heating the house, and many others. Utility bills are very expensive and you can cut it down by installing a solar power system. The system has solar panels that collect sunlight and converts the energy of the sun into electricity. You can readily use the electricity or it can be stored in the batteries.
The sun’s raw energy can’t be used to power homes and it needs to be converted first through the inverter. If you have a solar powered house, you can make use of renewable and clean electricity. Even if you can’t cut off your traditional electrical supply, you will be able to reduce the consumption thereby helping the environment. Electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels that contribute to pollution and global warming. The supply of fossil fuels is also decreasing and the world might face electricity shortage soon if they don’t conserve energy. It would be best to start using solar power now.
Through the efforts of SEPA (Solar Electric Power Association), the public is made aware of the many benefits of solar powered homes. This is the best time to make substantial efforts to save the environment. Solar power can’t possibly replace conventional energy sources today but who knows. If the technological advancements can help in the enhancement of solar power systems, perhaps in the near future the whole world can go green.
Pollution is widespread and it poses a great threat to the world. By reducing traditional electricity consumption, you can also lessen pollution. Solar power can provide clean, renewable, and free electricity. It doesn’t produce harmful emissions. You can enjoy free electricity as long as the system is working properly and as long as the sun rises.
The solar power systems are not that expensive these days. In fact, you already get a solar power kit for as low as $200. Still, the large solar panels are expensive. The federal government in the US offers incentives, loans, grants, rebates, and other financial options to help homeowners in installing a power system. Take advantage of these financial options so that you can start helping the environment.
Solar power systems can serve your home for about twenty years when properly maintained. It’s like an entire lifetime if you start now. If every home around the world patronizes solar power, global warming can be greatly reduced and Mother Nature can heal herself. Try to learn more about solar power and if you can afford to install a system at home or in the office, don’t hesitate because you’re doing the world a favor and you also get a lot of benefits.
Over the past few years, there has been a truly remarkable upsurge in the demand for solar energy systems in most countries including the United States. As a natural consequence, people are currently interested to know all about these systems. The function of these systems can be stated in a straightforward manner – the use of the sun’s rays to generate electricity. Hence, topics like how these devices actually function, the process by which sunlight is trapped, processed and whether the systems can continue to function normally, have to be examined with due care. This article is devoted to the discussion of precisely these issues.
The silicon wafers present in the solar power systems are equipped to trap the photons in the rays of the sun. These photons can then be transformed into DC electrical power. Once this DC current is has been converted to 120 volt usable AC electric power, it can be attached to the electrical framework of the building or plugged into the electronic grid systems directly. However, a major disadvantage might be the fact that, not everyone associated with the working of the solar power systems know the merits or demerits or the hazards associated with it. Thus, one needs to be extra careful while choosing the system. Past records of the company and its business history need to be studied.
There are certain issues that need to be studied while selecting a particular solar power system. This include: i). the add-on beneficial features that a grid-tied solar energy system has to offer, ii). the parts of the system, c). keeping a close eye on their functioning, d) the factors that contribute to the success of the system and d) the way of working and the steps to maintain the unit.
A solar power system that is grid-tied: Grid-tied solar energy systems represent an ideal device for generating electricity at all times during the day. These systems are cheaper as well. Solar power systems generally can easily produce electricity as long as sunlight is available during the day, but they stop working at night, and this is hardly desirable. If people opt for grid-tied solar power systems, the energy stored on the grid can be drawn upon to generate electricity at night. Excess electricity can also be sold off in exchange of money and this offsets the cost of electricity generation. If these grid-tied systems are not used, battery backups, that have a much higher price, need to be opted for.
Chief components of solar power systems: At the core of the solar power systems are the solar or photovoltaic cells. Generally, a ‘module’ is created by assembling several of these cells. Once some of these modules are attached together, we can create a solar panel. The panel then needs to be installed at such sites that receive abundant sunlight during most parts of the day, such as on the rooftop. Even those who are not experts have frequently seen these solar panels, which are rather prominent anyway. Hence, the panels can be said to be the point of introduction of people to solar power systems.
Apart from the solar panel, there are other crucial components of the system too. An inverter is one such, and it is responsible for transforming DC electric power into 120 volt AC electrical current that can be put to practical use. The inverter needs to have the requisite cycles too. For connecting the different parts of the solar power system, wires are generally used. For setting up the solar panels in the best way, clamps and holders (made of non-conducting materials) are used. Racks can fix up the panels on the roof. If any of the above components is not present, proper functioning of the system becomes almost impossible.
Monitoring via the web: This allows people to keep a close eye on the way of working of the solar power systems. This monitoring can be done using different portable gadgets as well. Several web browsers are also used for this purpose.
Main factors for success: Does your solar energy system contain ‘phantom loads’ in the form of computers or television sets, which are kept connected to the solar power system, even when these devices are powered down? For efficient performance, such ‘phantom loads’ have to be removed. A study of the climate is also required. As an example, let us consider that, the morning in San Francisco is foggy. This is a clear indication that a good amount of electricity is likely to be available during the afternoon period. The direction in which electric current would be produced at optimal level is another of the key success factors. All solar energy system supplying companies are aware of these points.
Proper way to maintain the solar power system: The solar power system needs to be kept clean, and this cleaning should be done once in a year at least. If batteries are also present, they need to be replaced at intervals of 5 to 10 years.
The benefits of solar power become evident as soon as such a system has been set up. However, a prior thorough knowledge regarding the installation procedures, the ideal place where it should be installed, the wiring, as well as the information about the safety measures is required. Users also need to know from where they can get cheap components as well as free batteries from. Once installed properly, solar power systems can indeed be great additions to any home.