News

Tesla Begins Solar Roof Ramp Up At Gigafactory 2

More than 800 workers are now full-time employees at the Buffalo Gigafactory 2 location

Led by Ryan Nungesser – the top level on-site employee – the Buffalo located Gigafactory 2 is ramping up production to fulfill all the Tesla Solar Roof orders after months of delays and several production issues. What Tesla envisioned as a holistic approach to clean energy production, the Tesla Solar roof is an integral part that will generate electricity from a roof, which will then be stored in a Tesla Powerwall battery storage, then used to power up both your home and your vehicles.

The Tesla Solar roof is essentially an entire roof made out of electricity-generating shingles. Unlike stand-alone electricity-generating solar panels, these integrate more effectively with the roof’s design, but also, provide a much larger surface for the power to be generated from. For Tesla, the Gigafactory 2, located in Buffalo, New York, is an integral part of bringing their holistic approach to power generation to the mass market. When fully scaled up, the company expects the factory to produce enough solar cells for more than 150,000 residential solar installations every single year. And it seems the company is right on track to achieve that goal.

Tesla is now ahead of the job creation targets the company agreed to with the New York state. Right now, the Gigafactory 2 on South Park Avenue in Buffalo is now home to more than 800 full-time employees (split roughly 50/50 between Panasonic and Tesla) and finally ramping up production.

Tesla Solar Roof in Smooth Glass

While the company didn’t disclose how many solar panels are made weekly, but judging by the number of people employed and the steady pace that the company is bringing new workers to it, we can expect full-size production volume to be achieved quite soon. Last week, Tesla invited a slew of local journalists for a tour of the Buffalo facility, giving the media a first-time access to the finished factory. Tesla is set to bring even more capital investments to the Buffalo location, filling up the 1.2 million-square-foot facility with high-tech manufacturing equipment. With this, we can expect a continued fast growth of its workforce, slated to grow steadily at least through 2019.

With the Solar Roof, Tesla is seemingly rounding up their eco-friendly product offerings. In reality, we’re still months away from any large-scale implementation. However, the future looks bright. If they – alongside other high-tech companies and carmakers – can produce solutions like these at scale, the future of motoring looks clean & bright all the way. Hopefully, the lawmakers don’t try to impede that growth by imposing ill-advised taxation or other government-led methods of charging people to produce their own electricity. But to be frank, we kinda expect that to happen. At least on some limited scale.

Source: Biz Journals

This article originally appeared on Inside EVs.

BrokerDon

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Aug 23, 2014
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I hope so. My roof has another 4-5 years or so. I would love to have a solar tile roof, if the price is right.

Similar situation here. We'd love to add Tesla "faux" Spanish tile solar for aesthetic reasons but Tesla won't quote or install solar panels our Spanish clay tile roof because the tiles are so fragile. Patiently waiting for pricing and availability since the Tesla solar roof was announced.
 
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jboy210

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Dec 2, 2016
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Similar situation here. We'd love to add Tesla "faux" Spanish tile solar for aesthetic reasons but Tesla won't quote or install solar panels our Spanish clay tile roof because the tiles are so fragile. Patiently waiting for pricing and availability since the Tesla solar roof was announced.

Do you have a real clay tile roof? I have heard those are very expensive to replace, if you can find the tiles.
 

BrokerDon

Active Member
Aug 23, 2014
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Newport Coast, CA
Do you have a real clay tile roof? I have heard those are very expensive to replace, if you can find the tiles.

Yes, real Spanish clay tiles. Yes expensive to replace and easy to crack just by walking on them... which is most solar companies (Tesla, SunRun, etc.) won't quote or install on a Spanish clay tile roof.
 
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jboy210

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Dec 2, 2016
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Northern California
Yes, real Spanish clay tiles. Yes expensive to replace and easy to crack just by walking on them... which is most solar companies (Tesla, SunRun, etc.) won't quote or install on a Spanish clay tile roof.

I love the looks of those roofs, but the maintenance sounds like a killer. Hopefully the Tesla roof will take care of the maintenance and solar issues with one install.
 

BrokerDon

Active Member
Aug 23, 2014
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Newport Coast, CA
I love the looks of those roofs, but the maintenance sounds like a killer. Hopefully the Tesla roof will take care of the maintenance and solar issues with one install.

Actually maintenance is almost non-existent on real Spanish clay tile roofs. Occasionally a tile will crack on it's own but usually this happens when somebody walks on them. The reason most solar installers including Tesla refuse to install on these roofs is the clay tiles are fragile so they can end up having to replace a lot of tiles on the perimeter of the solar panel installation area as well as any walking paths to the solar panels. This can potentially turn a profitable solar installation into a loss in a hurry.

The few solar installers who WILL install on Spanish clay tile roofs subcontract a quality roofer to handle the fragile Spanish clay tile removal & installation at an additional charge, increasing the total solar system by thou$and$ which lowers the R.O.I. and extends the payback time. This should make Tesla's faux Spanish clay tile solar roofs more competitive IF they can keep the cost down and IF they can ship them before another competitor comes up with a more affordable solution.

In the meantime we're patiently waiting... but at 65 years old a 15+ year payback (due to increased installation cost and average monthly electric bill only ~ $150) on a large house we're likely to downsize doesn't make a lot of sense.
 

jboy210

Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,179
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Northern California
In the meantime we're patiently waiting... but at 65 years old a 15+ year payback (due to increased installation cost and average monthly electric bill only ~ $150) on a large house we're likely to downsize doesn't make a lot of sense.

I hear you. We are in our 60s, kids gone, and live in 3100 sq foot 5 bedroom house. We only occupy 3 of the bedrooms, we sleep in one and the other two are offices for my wife and I. But we have been spending a lot to remodel it, including the living room we visit annually. Hopefully when they send us off to the retirement home in a few years we will get some of that money back.:)
 
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BrokerDon

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Aug 23, 2014
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Newport Coast, CA
We have been spending a lot to remodel it, including the living room we visit annually.:)

HA HA HA HA priceless !!! We've always been amazed at the number of homeowners who have "Look but Don't Enter" designer living rooms. Best ones are the "Look but Don't Cook" highly remodeled kitchens where the homeowners don't cook. Priceless.
 

jboy210

Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,179
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Northern California
HA HA HA HA priceless !!! We've always been amazed at the number of homeowners who have "Look but Don't Enter" designer living rooms. Best ones are the "Look but Don't Cook" highly remodeled kitchens where the homeowners don't cook. Priceless.

We remodeled the Kitchen and found out why it is the most expensive room in the house to remodel. But we also cook a lot. So I feel it was worth it.

The living room is another issues. I really wish there was a way to combine the family room where we spend all the time with it. Or combine the garage with it so the Tesla had more space!
 
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ElectricTundra

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I hear you. We are in our 60s, kids gone, and live in 3100 sq foot 5 bedroom house. We only occupy 3 of the bedrooms, we sleep in one and the other two are offices for my wife and I. But we have been spending a lot to remodel it, including the living room we visit annually. Hopefully when they send us off to the retirement home in a few years we will get some of that money back.:)
Sounds very much like us, except we visit our living room monthly :)

We're building a new house (Bamasotan) that is actually larger than our current house even though we're empty nesters. My wife comes from a big family that's remained close and we've become the designated gathering spot as well as having lots of friends and family from out of town/country visit frequently which isn't great when the guest bedrooms are offices. We're not doing a separate living room but a larger and less formal family room instead. We cook and entertain a fair amount so the kitchen was designed as a workshop first with aesthetics second except for things that s/b stainless being soapstone or tile.

We'd hoped to do all Tesla shingles but they weren't available in time so we're doing them only on the detached garage/studio. This should still provide a fair chunk of our power though much less than if we could have done the entire roof.
 

mspohr

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Jul 27, 2014
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Slow ramp
Exclusive: Tesla woes send Panasonic's U.S. solar cells to Philippines
Reuters reported on May 15 that Panasonic planned to ship most cells from the plant overseas, instead of selling them to Tesla for its trademark Solar Roof as initially intended, because of low demand from Tesla and a trade loophole that had fired up new foreign interest. That loophole allows companies outside the United States to ship solar panels into America duty-free provided the panels are made with U.S.-built cells.
 

ElectricTundra

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Reuters reported on May 15 that Panasonic planned to ship most cells from the plant overseas, ...
I wonder where the problem is.
- Difficulty in manufacturing roof tiles?
- Problems w/ Gen 3 tiles discovered so they're redesigning for Gen 4?
- Proving much more expensive to manufacture, install or both? So having to change design or mfr processes to be more profitable?
- Other?
 
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mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
9,616
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California
I wonder where the problem is.
- Difficulty in manufacturing roof tiles?
- Problems w/ Gen 3 tiles discovered so they're redesigning for Gen 4?
- Proving much more expensive to manufacture, install or both? So having to change design or mfr processes to be more profitable?
- Other?
Probably all of the above.
 
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woferry

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Mar 4, 2019
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San Jose, CA
My guess would just be difficulty of roll-out. If they only have a few teams doing the installs, and each install takes several weeks, then they don't exactly have a high demand for the actual PV modules, no matter how much pent-up demand in terms of roof customers there are. It took one crew ~3 weeks to consume 561 modules at my site (okay, they broke a few during the install, so maybe more like 565 or 570 tops). Even if there were 5 crews installing in parallel right now (and that may be generous), that's less than 1000 modules a week (and each module has 18 cells inside). Panasonic can probably produce way more than that, so it makes sense that the excess cell capacity would be sold elsewhere.

I think they really need to get the install time down, though having watched them do it at my house I don't have any immediate thoughts on things they could have done differently to significantly impact that. There's just a lot of parts involved in it, and a lot of cutting of the non-PV tiles for edges/flashings/ridges/valleys, all of which takes time to do. So I guess more crews is about all that could be done to significantly speed things up, but that doesn't do anything to lower the installation (labor) cost, obviously.
 

Don TLR

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Jul 27, 2017
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Apache Junction AZ
Similar situation here. We'd love to add Tesla "faux" Spanish tile solar for aesthetic reasons but Tesla won't quote or install solar panels our Spanish clay tile roof because the tiles are so fragile. Patiently waiting for pricing and availability since the Tesla solar roof was announced.

Tesla just stopped doing installs on Flat Roofs, citing warranty issues with leaks afterwards. I wasted to add to my current panels after the recent price change and they stated after May 1st no more flat roof installs..
 

woferry

Member
Mar 4, 2019
405
477
San Jose, CA
Anyone know how many of these installations they have completed ?

The only recent number I've seen was from this article, which claimed "California state data shows 21 Solar Roof systems were connected by the state’s three investor-owned utilities as of Feb. 28". SoCal (not sure exactly where) and the San Jose area were the only places I'd heard of installs being done in CA, and the SJ city inspector said they had inspected around 10 Solar Roofs before mine, so that seemed in-line with the article's claim (I've also personally seen 3 other installs near my house). My install started on 2/25 and I didn't receive PTO until late April, so in terms of "connected" my house certainly should not have been counted in that report. And I know my crew had just finished another install before starting mine, and was already starting another tear-off as they finished my install. I also found out that there was only one install crew in San Jose when mine was being done, so at a rate of ~3 weeks per install that 21 number should be higher now, but probably not double. There are install crews working elsewhere (or at least one place outside CA), searching for Solar Roof on twitter turned up a house in VA that was installed in April/May (though the first tweet was 4/2 and then relative silence until a 5/20 tweet saying the install was completed, so that either took a very long time, or maybe "completed" meant PTO received or final inspections done, that took an extra month in my case).