Tesla Motors said it would collaborate with Japan’s Panasonic Corp to manufacture solar cells and modules in New York. Under the agreement, which is a nonbinding letter of intent, Tesla said it will use the cells and modules in a solar energy system that will work seamlessly with its energy storage products Powerwall and Power-pack. The Japanese company is already working with the U.S. automaker to supply batteries for the Model 3, its first mass-market car.
Panasonic is expected to begin production at the Buffalo facility in 2017 and Tesla intends to provide a long-term purchase commitment for those cells, Tesla said in a statement, adding the agreement is contingent on shareholders’ approval of its acquisition of SolarCity. Last week Tesla and SolarCity Corp shareholders agreed to vote on the proposed merger on Nov. 17, and the automaker said it would provide plans for the combined company ahead of the vote.