SolarCity's Chairman Elon Musk annouces it will buy solar panel

October 29, 2010 – 09:23 am
Elon MuskUcilia Wang of Forbes reports SolarCity's Bold Move To Become A Solar Panel Maker. SolarCity is one of the largest installers and leasers of residential solar panels, so buying a solar photo-voltaic manufacturing maker, Silveo, is described by Wang as an unusual move. SolarCity stock, SCTY i up 18.11%.
The decision reflects SolarCity’s desire to control its equipment supply and, in particular, the supply of low-cost solar panels that are efficient at producing solar electricity, company executives said in a blog post. Just earlier this month, the California company announced it had inked a deal to buy 100 megawatts of solar panels from Norway-based REC Group.

“What we are trying to address is not the lay of the land today, where there are indeed too many suppliers, most of whom are producing relatively low photonic efficiency solar cells at uncompelling costs, but how we see the future developing. Without decisive action to lay the groundwork today, the massive volume of affordable, high efficiency panels needed for unsubsidized solar power to outcompete fossil fuel grid power simply will not be there when it is needed, ” according to the blog post penned by SolarCity Chairman Elon Musk and the two co-founders, Peter Rive and Lyndon Rive.

SolarCity plans to pay $200 million in stock for Silevo and an additional $150 million in stock if the solar panel maker meets certain goals, according to SolarCity’s filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Silevo raised funds from private equity firms such as DT Capital (affiliated with Madrone Capital), NewMargin Ventures, and GSR Ventures (connected to Mayfield Fund).

SolarCity currently installs and leases solar panels, and last year purchased Zep Solar, a solar panel mounting system developer.

SolarCity solar panelsAuthor Ucilia Wang has followed Silveo for years after it was founded in 2007. It claims to be the first company to combine silicon, amorphous silicon with an oxide layer in between giving its panels an efficiency of 18%. they also use copper instead of silver in their grid lines reducing manufacturing costs.

Silveo has a 32-Megawatt factory in China. SolarCity executives plan to build a mega factory that will be able to produce up to 1 gigawatt of solar panels per year, perhaps in New York.

On a conference call Elon Musk said:

“The timing is right to make an acquisition and get into advanced solar panel manufacturing. If we don’t do this, then we thought there’s a risk of not being able to have the solar panels we need to expand the business in the long term, ” Elon Musk said on the conference call.
Elon Musk takes on carbon with solar, battery bets
Silveo Single Bus S-Bar Solar CellMusk is also a founder and the CEO of the electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors, which is planning what it calls a “gigafactory” to supply batteries for its cars.

In both cases, Musk’s goal is to make sure that the components critical to his vision of the future — electric cars and solar energy — are available and cheap enough to beat fossil fuels.

Musk’s future customers could ignore traditional energy companies completely. They would have SolarCity panels on their roof that would generate enough power to also charge up a Tesla in the garage. A Tesla battery could then power the home at night with stored solar power.

It’s a far-off vision — solar power is still much more expensive than conventional power, even before the enormous cost of a battery backup. And electric cars are less than 1 percent of the total auto market. But Musk has made a career of thinking far into the future. He is also the CEO of SpaceX, the rocket company with an ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.

Elon Musk has a bold vision of the future and he is making it happen.


Somit Sen, of the Times of India announces that Tata Power crosses 500MW renewable energy capacity, as it commissions a solar plant in Palaswadi in Maharashtra. Tata Power is India's largest integrated power company.
MUMBAI: "This achievement is in line with the company's commitment to have a 20-25 per cent contribution in energy generated from clean power sources that includes a mix of hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, and waste gas generation, '' said an official.

Tata Power has a total operating capacity of 460.6MW from wind farms and 54MW in solar generation. In addition the Company has 447 of hydro and 202.5MW from waste gas based generation.

Tata Power managing director Anil Sardana said: "We are committed to reduce carbon footprint through "clean and renewable energy" generation and further diversify energy portfolio to reduce fuel price risk. The Company has aggressive plans of additional generating capacity by 2022."

Here comes the sun.

Our future is on its way here, day by day.

1:52 PM PT:

One of the fun things about Elon Musk is he like to think big. Here's a sample:


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