Tesla starts production of solar roofs at its New York factory

Tesla’s tiles with integrated solar cells are gaining momentum. The company headed by Elon Musk just began large-scale manufacture of its latest bet on solar power at its Buffalo facility. The news has been out for months, but just now it has started to show concrete results. The company’s goal is reaching an annual production of 2 gigawatts, doubling its initial forecast for 2019.

In order to reach this target, hundreds of employees equipped with specific machinery have begun working on the more than 111,000 square meters that form the company’s New York facilities. In these facilities, the staff will combine PV cells manufactured by Panasonic Corporation and the tiles that give shape to this affordable, lasting solar system that, something highly relevant, integrates into the roof and goes unnoticed.

Although sales of Tesla’s integrated solar roof started months ago through the reservation system, for which it also started a small-scale production at its facilities in Freemont, California, the works in Buffalo entail a qualitative leap.

This according to the company’s Chief Technical Officer JB Straubel who in an interview with AP News stated that by the end of this year we will have the ramp-up of solar roof modules started in a substantial way. “It’s an interim milestone that we are very proud.”

This ramp-up production is intended to cover the “strong demand” for these integrated roofs, and Tesla will work until the end of the present year to cover the orders received so far.

But beyond that, Tesla’s plans include that the production of its integrated solar roofs in Buffalo reaches 2 gigawatts. This target doubles the one originally announced for 2019, set at 1 gigawatt. This equals the annual production at a large coal-powered nuclear power plant, according to Straubel.

Thus, Tesla is making a move to take its integrated solar cells to the market, a solution presented in the fall of 2016 after Elon Musk’s company acquired solar panel installer SolarCity for $2 billion.

This merger paved the way for Tesla to position itself in the domestic solar energy market, with its solar tiles as its main asset. Musk and his CTO were among the firsts to test this system, which production is ramping up at the Buffalo Gigafactory.

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