Mystery solved? Active Tesla roof tiles come from New York? Passive tiles from China?


pv magazine is trying to determine where Tesla’s solar glass roof tiles are built.

This is important information because of CEO Elon Musk’s claims that the tiles are built in Buffalo, New York and because of the staffing requirements at Tesla’s Buffalo factory in a deal that is costing New York state almost $1 billion in incentives.

Regarding the solar roof tiles, Elon Musk said in a call last year, “This is all going to be produced at the Giga New York, our factory in Buffalo, where people have been working really hard…They’ve really been putting in a pretty huge effort to ramp-up production of the solar glass roof.”

That was repeated in yesterday’s earnings call presentation which stated, “Solarglass tiles are made in our Gigafactory New York, and we are hiring hundreds of employees at this facility.”

As covered in a previous article, Musk’s claims are contradicted by photos taken at a customer site of boxes full of solar tiles with labels showing China as the country of origin.

But it’s more complicated than that.

Photos taken by a Tesla roof tile customer show tiles labeled as “made in USA.”

The homeowner said in a comment on this website, “I just posted in my shared photo album showing the label of an active solar tile. Made in America. The passive tiles appear to be originating from China. So are the cables on the active tiles. It’s 2020 and supply chains are global.”

Another twitter user comments: “The boxes in that image are the inactive blank tiles. The active PV tiles have a different label, coming from NY,” but offers no evidence for that claim.

So — it’s active solar tiles built in Buffalo and passive tiles from China? That’s the story until we learn more.

As mentioned, building labor-intensive products in China is a good business decision. Unless there’s a deal to build the product in New York and to hire New Yorkers.

The Tesla New York work force needs to reach 1,460 by mid-April or Tesla could be hit with a $41.3 million fine by the state.

Tesla’s communication group has not responded to our inquiries.

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