SolarCity has discussed the possibility of partnering with a solar cell maker, according to Elon Musk.
Philip Kamrass August 4, 2015- Buffalo, NY-- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today participated in the “topping off” ceremony of the new, 1.2 million-square-foot SolarCity GigaFactory, which will manufacture solar panels at the RiverBend site in South Buffalo. As part of the ceremony, the Governor signed a steel beam that was raised into place atop the rapidly developing facility, commemorating the significant milestone for the project that broke ground just 11 months ago. The project will create nearly 3,000 jobs in Western New York and a total of nearly 5,000 jobs in the state. The SolarCity facility will be the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, with one gigawatt of annual solar capacity when it reaches full production.

SolarCity is “entertaining some discussions with strategic partners on the solar cell manufacturing,” according to SolarCity chairman and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. SolarCity purchased the solar battery manufacturing startup Silevo two years ago, but a deal with a larger manufacturer could allow SolarCity to scale up their manufacturing process, according to Fortune’s Katie Fehrenbacher.

Tesla, which is in the process of acquiring SolarCity, has partnered with Panasonic in the past to manufacture battery packs for use in its electric cars. A new solar cell partnership “could be an example of Musk and Tesla’s growing influence on [SolarCity] as it undergoes the planned merger,” Fehrenbacher says.

SolarCity plans to focus on developing new products, with two set to launch next year, and on the construction of their new solar factory in upstate New York.

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