Elon Musk's SolarCity to acquire panel maker Silevo
18 June 2014
Apart from Tesla Motors, Elon Musk's other venture, SolarCity, announced a deal on Tuesday that, according to Musk, would see the installation of the world's largest solar panel plant.
According to a blog post on Tuesday, the company was buying panel maker Silevo.
Peter Rive, SolarCity chief technology officer and co-founder said, the $350-million acquisition would lead to the setting up of a factory in Buffalo, NY, and create over 1,000 jobs within the next two years.
The plant would be "one of the single largest solar panel production plants in the world," the post said, adding, it would be followed by one or more larger facilities in subsequent years. He added, he expected SolarCity would eventually create several thousand panel-making jobs.
On Twitter, Musk's personal feed said, "SolarCity to build the world's largest advanced solar panel factory in upstate New York" with a link to the blog post.
Besides SolarCity, Musk is also the chief of Tesla Motors and SpaceX.
Until now, SolarCity had purchased its solar panels from other manufacturers and according to Rive the acquisition would finally allow the company to make its own photovoltaic panels.
Shares of the company surged on news the solar installer was buying the solar-panel maker.
SolarCity shares were up 12 per cent to $61.43, their highest intraday gain since 8 May. Shares rose 10 per cent recently.
According to the company, it signed an agreement to acquire the Californian company Silevo Inc for up to $350 million, with the ultimate goal of achieving ''a breakthrough in the cost of solar power.''
SolarCity, the US's largest residential solar-panel installer, had developed considerable expertise in the technology, leasing rooftop solar-power systems.
Most SolarCity customers paid little to no up-front costs on these leases, but made monthly payments for a couple of decades.
According to commentators, the move would slash installation costs for SolarCity by allowing it to produce its own more-efficient solar panels.
The company would be releasing new cost-reduction targets in the next few months, according to SolarCity officials, who spoke in a conference call with analysts following the announcement.
During the call, SolarCity chairman Elon Musk - also the CEO of electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc - said the move was aimed at achieving economies of scale, better technology, and ensuring SolarCity had access to the best solar panels so that unsubsidised solar power could out-compete fossil-fuel grid power.
Musk has also been an early investor in SpaceX, and PayPal, Inc.