Report: Low Demand From Tesla Sends Panasonic Solar Cells Overseas

A report from Reuters says most of the solar cells made by Panasonic at Tesla’s Buffalo, New York manufacturing plant are being sent to the Philippines to supply an eco-homebuilder.

Reuters reported on May 15 that Panasonic planned to ship most cells from the plant overseas because of low demand from Tesla and a trade loophole that attracted new foreign interest. That loophole allows companies outside the U.S. to ship solar panels into America duty-free provided the panels are made with U.S.-built cells.

Panasonic previously planned to make the cells to supply Tesla for its Solar Roof product, which is made up of solar panels that look like conventional roof tiles. The idea was that consumers could use energy from the Solar Roof to power their home and Tesla electric vehicle.

However, Tesla has only installed a handful of Solar Roofs.

According to Reuters, “Panasonic was forced to find other buyers due to low demand from Tesla, whose purchases of the cells have been sporadic, an employee at the Buffalo factory said. The automaker does not have an exclusive supply arrangement with Panasonic.”

Panasonic partnered with Tesla in 2016 to make solar cells after Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity.

The cells have reportedly been purchased by H.R.D. Singapore’s factories in the Philippines, a chief supplier of panels to Japanese eco-homebuilder Ichijo Co Ltd.


Active Member
Aug 20, 2016
Is the underlying truth that there are not enough battery cells to complement the solar cells in maing a nice solar roof? Or are there really not that many projects waiting for a solar roof? Last I heard, the cost and savings were not exactly as Tesla painted them to be.
Tesla used imported 2170s before to supply against an Energy project, why not do so for all the PowerWalls people need? Will this be where the Chinese suppliers for GF3 come in? Or will GF1 just man up and push out the cells it expected to need about 2 years ago?


May 11, 2019
Brawley, Ca
I want solar on my home but they say they are not doing installs in my area. So frustrating. I hope they get it together. I only have til Dec 31 for the 30% rebate


Supporting Member
Apr 2, 2016
Northern Virginia, USA
I think the roof is being reworked/tested. Solar Panels should be easy to get. I got mine in short order last year, only hold up was local power co issues with approving the amount of production. (Mine are the black/black ones, look great.)
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Apr 30, 2019
Indiana (U.S.A.)
Yeah Tesla is not installing in Indiana, I tried to got through them. This article is specifically about Tesla demand not this party demand. I think they anticipated a higher usage of panels through Tesla but their not seeing the volume.

I am in the fence now between SunPower and Panasonic panels. I found an installer in Illinois that will come to Indiana for the install (they sell Panasonic panels).

Now it's about doing the math and determining which is right for my home.
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Active Member
Apr 21, 2015
Lake Forest, CA
It's a cut throat business - and the installers? Not many have been around for decades - so their 20 year warranty is hope, at best.


New Member
Sep 24, 2018
Wethersfield, CT
Maybe the shorts or maybe the price.
I'm in Connecticut and this past fall I put in my $1K deposit on a Solar Roof and was called back in less than a week. During that conversation I was told the price would be higher than the online estimator. Fine, how much higher? Was told it could be double. !! That took it from $45K to $90K which is a bit higher than I was willing to spend but we continued the conversation.
I was asked about a number of different things and then we came to a 200 sq ft porch that is covered with a 130 year old standing seam metal roof. The person on the phone instead that had to be replaced with the roof tiles. I asked Really? and she insisted. At that point we were done and I asked for a return of my deposit. It's too bad that Tesla can't see their way clear to working with older historic structures that may not conform in the same way as 20th century subdivision does. It's too bad because I was ready to go with them despite the wildly inaccurate estimates provided online.