Tesla turns to Panasonic to produce its industry-leading heterojunction cells at the solar Gigafactory

August 16, 2018 | Case Study

Prior to its own acquisition by Tesla, SolarCity had acquired Silevo, a manufacturer of a proprietary architecture for silicon heterojunction cells. Heterojunction cells consists of a monocrystalline silicon wafer with both sides covered in a layer of amorphous silicon and can obtain higher conversion efficiencies than industry-standard cells. The high-efficiency cells are costlier to manufacture, but warrant a higher price in distributed rooftop installations where space is at a premium. SolarCity originally intended to scale up Silevo's technology to 1 GW production capacity to begin producing its own module in the wake of increasing deployments in the U.S. After Tesla acquired SolarCity, it abandoned Silevo's technology in favor of Panasonic's, a manufacturer with 20 years of experience with cell architecture.