Tesla to power Nevada gigafactory entirely with solar


Tesla unveiled its plans to power its Reno, Nev., Gigafactory with a 70 MW rooftop solar array combined with ground-mounted installations.

During a presentation to its investors in Sparks, Nev., last week, the company said it would be the first factory of its kind to use 100% sustainable energy, of which the solar system is the centerpiece.

The factory, which will produce batteries in partnership with Panasonic, is all electric, which Tesla says allows greater efficiency in the factory itself, as well as emitting no carbon. One of the goals of the $5 billion factory is to support its solar lines – a natural outgrowth of November’s merger between Tesla and SolarCity.

Any excess energy produced by the solar array will be stored in Tesla’s own battery systems for the factory to use at other times. At 70 MW, the rooftop array on the factory will be seven-times larger than the current leader, which is the Whirlpool Corporation Regional Distribution Center in Perris, Calif. That array is 10 MW.

As pv magazine reported last week, Tesla is already producing batteries at the plant with Panasonic. When completed, the company anticipates employing 6,500 workers at the Gigafactory.

Meanwhile, Tesla is now in possession SolarCity’s solar cell and module Gigafactory in Buffalo. That Gigafactory will also be run by Panasonic, and Tesla has forecast that production will begin in the summer of 2017.

When complete, the factory will reportedly span 5.8 million square feet.

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