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Panasonic To Invest Over $256 Million In Tesla's US Plant For Solar Cells (reuters.com) 30

According to Reuters, Panasonic will invest more than $256 million (30 billion yen) in a New York production facility of Elon Musk's Tesla Motors to make photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules. Reuters reports: Japan's Panasonic, which has been retreating from low-margin consumer electronics to focus more on automotive components and other businesses targeting corporate clients, will make the investment in Tesla's factory in Buffalo, New York. The U.S. electric car maker is making a long-term purchase commitment from Panasonic as part of the deal, besides providing factory buildings and infrastructure. In a statement on Tuesday, the two companies said they plan to start production of PV modules in the summer of 2017 and increase to one gigawatt of module production by 2019. The plan is part of the solar partnership that the two companies first announced in October, but which did not disclose investment details. Tesla is working exclusively with longtime partner Panasonic to supply batteries for its upcoming Model 3, the company's first mass-market car. Panasonic is also the exclusive supplier of batteries to Tesla's Model S and Model X.
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Panasonic To Invest Over $256 Million In Tesla's US Plant For Solar Cells

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  • I'm really curious about the details of that commitment.
    Something tells me it'll be Tesla getting the pointy end if this relationship sours or if much better tech comes along.
    Tesla helped Panasonic become or remain the market leader but it seems they're more welded than wedded and a breakup wouldn't be in Tesla's favor except in the very unlikely event that they develop their very own superior battery tech.

  • How many jobs? I keep hearing big numbers like this thrown around but never any job figures. It's starting to make me nervous...
    • $256m? Give every American about 80 cents. They'll need it since these factories will likely be automated with robots.

      If you're in the business of designing and making robots you'll be doing well in the economy of the future. Assuming you can get home without being mobbed by the starving proletariat.

      • $256m? Give every American about 80 cents. They'll need it since these factories will likely be automated with robots.

        If you're in the business of designing and making robots you'll be doing well in the economy of the future. Assuming you can get home without being mobbed by the starving proletariat.

        I assume you're not suggesting that being mobbed by the starving public is inevitable, or even desired.

        So what you're saying is, there is a problem on the horizon that needs to be addressed. Yes?

        And you mention being mobbed by hordes of starving people as a rhetorical point, to give people a visceral image of what will happen if the problem isn't solved.

        But it's not inevitable, and you're trying to encourage people to think about and implement solutions, rather than painting a dour and depressing prediction

      • Re:Jobs (Score:4, Informative)

        by MountainLogic ( 92466 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2016 @08:59PM (#53563343) Homepage
        This is a key point about lost manufacturing jobs. For a short time China had dirt cheap labor. That time has past. Still chirp, but no longer dirt cheap. In the steel industry perhaps half the jobs were lost to automation with the reset to strong competition and indeed some dumping for China. I would argue that the miss-west jobs did not go to China, they went to Everett (Boeing), Redmond (MS), LA (Hollywood), NY (wall street), etc. There are always winers and losers in these deals. Traditional manufacturing lost their protection so other US exports (aircraft, tech, media, finance, etc) could gain access to foreign markets. The promise by BOTH parties was that those workers who got screwed in the deal would be taken care of. Some were give retraining that did benefit them, most got nothing. These sorts of disruptions destroy business ecosystems in a locations so new business don't just jump in and fill a factory as a business closes. It took decades to build the manufacturing centers and silicon valley for that matter. Cut the heart out of a sector and it will not rebound on its own for decades.
        No matter what anybody says these jobs are not coming back. Manufacturing will come back as a technology and capital intensive highly automated operations, but not with high school education jobs. We must find a solution for angry guys who saw their fathers make $40/.hour who themselves made $20/hour and they see their kids make $10/hour. Perhaps we need to parachute in some of our best entrepreneurs to turn the place around. Perhaps we need to provide incentive to get them to move where the jobs are? I remember in my native Oregon in the '80s as logging wound down there was massive discontent as these folks who for generations made good, if dangerous, living in the woods see their way of life come crashing down. The one gotcha for these logging communities was that they had to move to a new area every few years as the timber was cut. In the 70's the region was over cut and there was no where else to go. These communities lost their economic base and had no way to recover and their kids moved away to make lives of themselves (e.g., Kurt Cobain from Aberdeen, WA moved to Olympia homeless and nearly starving and started sining to make a living). I fear that that may be the fate of many of these rust belt communities.
      • $256 Million! Hey, that's about 1/3 of the amount the state of New York is investing in this project! [yahoo.com]

        New York state has committed $750 million to build and outfit the plant at Buffalo's RiverBend site, the centerpiece of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "Buffalo Billion" program to revitalize the upstate region's largest city.

        To put that in perspective, they could have simply given each of the 1,400 people expected to be employed in this operation a half million dollars and still come out ahead on the deal.

        • Well if you wanted to employ me for 10 years, you'd need more than half a million dollars. I say 10 years because I don't think this will be pulling in revenue and breaking even in something small like 2 years.

    • How many jobs? I keep hearing big numbers like this thrown around but never any job figures. It's starting to make me nervous...

      Another useless number is the production estimate: a gigawatt of production? Is that per month? Per year? Total?

      I assume it's annual production.

      The US consumes/produces roughly 4000 terawatt hours [statista.com] annually. Assuming the article refers to gigawatt production and not something else (like gigawatt-hours equivalent), and assuming 4 hours of production for 250 days per year (average), that's 1/4,000 of the US electricity demand produced each year.

      Of course that's additive. After 20 years there will be 20 TWh of

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