Solar roof tile production at Tesla’s production plant (“Gigafactory 2”) in Buffalo, New York, has now begun — as of the end of August — according to the company’s Chief Technical Officer (CTO), JB Straubel.
Apparently, there are some several hundred employees now getting things up and running at the 1.2 million-square-foot facility in the Northeast — which was obtained from SolarCity’s acquisition of solar startup Silevo in 2014. SolarCity, of course, was purchased by Tesla in 2016.
Up to this point, Tesla’s new solar roof tiles have only been produced on a small scale in Fremont, California — for development reasons.
Straubel commented on the state of things: “By the end of this year we will have the ramp-up of solar roof modules started in a substantial way. This is an interim milestone that we’re pretty proud of.”
“This factory, and the opportunity to build solar modules and cells in the US, was part of why this project made sense,” he continued.
The Washington Post provides more: “Tesla’s partner, Panasonic Corp., will make the photovoltaic cells, which look similar to computer chips. Tesla workers will combine the cells into modules that fit into the roof tiles. The tiles will eventually be made in Buffalo as well, along with more traditional solar panels. Panasonic is also working with Tesla at its Gigafactory battery plant in Nevada.
“Straubel says Tesla eventually hopes to reach 2 gigawatts of cell production annually at the Buffalo plant. That’s higher than its initial target of 1 gigawatt by 2019. Straubel said Tesla has been working on making the factory more efficient.”
Notably, during the interview, Straubel was reportedly hesitant to say how many orders have been taken to date for Tesla’s solar roofs … though the comment was made that demand was strong. Also, the current order log wouldn’t be fulfilled until the end of 2018.