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SolarCity’s Solar Panel “Gigafactory” Resembles Tesla’s Gigafactory So Far

Following on the company’s acquisition of the solar module manufacturer Silevo last year, SolarCity began work on a “Gigafactory” of its own — following in the footsteps of “sister company” Tesla Motors, you might say. The SolarCity version will of course produce solar modules, though, not lithium-ion batteries.

Unsurprisingly — given the somewhat similar functions, similar people, similar mind sets, etc — the two projects both seem to be sharing a resemblance. Well, during these early stages on construction anyways. This is despite the fact that the two projects are on opposite sides of the country — the SolarCity facility being under construction in Buffalo, New York, and the Tesla facility under construction in Nevada.

Of course, who can travel anywhere in this country without thinking that much of the man-made environment looks remarkably similar to what you see practically anywhere else? There just isn’t that much variety with regard to modern constructions, to be honest.


Electrek provides a bit more information:

SolarCity and Tesla are not sharing any designs or contractors for their respective factory projects according to Kady Cooper, Director of Communications at SolarCity.

The plant, which should start low volume production in 2016, is expected to produce 1 GW of solar modules per year at planned capacity starting in 2017, and the company says it could expand the facility to 5 GW. According to the general contractor in charge of the project, LP Ciminelli, the structure is 35% complete. In comparison, drone footage of Tesla’s construction site in Nevada emerged last week and Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO and SolarCity’s Chairman, confirmed the structure seen in the video represents about 25% of the final building.

While Tesla could break the record for the biggest footprint for a single building with the Gigafactory’s 10 million square-feet, SolarCity trails behind with 1.2 million square-feet, but it should still be enough to be the biggest solar panel plant in the northern hemisphere.

Worth noting here is that the solar panels that are set to be produced at the SolarCity facility currently under development will reportedly possess solar conversion efficiencies as high as 24% (as compared to conventional panels with 21% conversion efficiency, as those used by the company currently have).

For side-by-side pics, see the electrek article.

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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