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Panasonic to Sell Solar Cells, Partner With Tesla

2017/09/12 19:43
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Institute
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Cells and automotive solar cells are manufactured at Nishikinohama Plant. (source: Nikkei BP)

Panasonic Corp made an announcement about a structural reform for strengthening the competitiveness of its solar cell business (solar business).

Though the business has so far been focused on selling solar panels, the company will start to sell cells (power generation elements). Also, its will close its Shiga Plant.

Panasonic has been selling its solar panels for residential roofs and industrial solar power plants. But it now plans to expand the B-to-B business of selling solar cells by making the most of the high output and excellent high-temperature properties of the "HIT" hetero-junction solar cell.

In regard to production, Panasonic is currently manufacturing cells and panels at Nishikinohama Plant (Kaizuka City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan) and in Malaysia, cells at Shimane Plant (Unnan City, Shimane Prefecture) and panels at Shiga Plant. After the closure of the Shiga Plant, the company will produce residential/industrial panels in Malaysia and automotive panels at Nishikinohama Plant while maintaining the global production system for cells.

In addition, Panasonic has already announced that it will form a business partnership with Tesla Inc in the storage battery/solar cell business. The two companies are planning to produce solar cells at Buffalo Plant in New York, and Panasonic will be responsible for the process of cell production.

In the US, Panasonic is currently producing silicon ingots at a manufacturing plant in Oregon. But the company is considering stopping the production in the fall of 2017 and procuring raw materials from other companies.