Panasonic Will Return to Work at Tesla’s Solar Factory in New York

Panasonic Will Return to Work at Tesla's Solar Factory

Several businesses in the Western New York region have been given the go-ahead to reopen and Panasonic is resuming production at Tesla’s Buffalo, New York solar panel factory this week, according to information obtained by The Verge. For the past two months, the factory has been closed.

On Monday evening, Mark Shima, the head of Panasonic’s North American solar energy division, sent an email to his 400 employees announcing that the facility would reopen on Wednesday, May 20th.

A two-day equipment checkup period will precede “standard manufacturing” on May 22nd, he stated.

When it comes to the factory floor, Panasonic has “finished preparations under close coordination with Tesla,” according to Shima.

This includes making sure that there are plenty of sanitizers and wipes on hand, as well as establishing a new protocol for entering and working there.

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Panasonic Will Return to Work at Tesla's Solar Factory

In addition, employees will be required to complete a pandemic safety course prior to their first shift.

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic is ready to reopen its “close collaboration” with Tesla, according to reports.

Whether Tesla, which employs more than 1,000 employees at the factory, is also resuming production thereafter resuming battery production in Nevada and vehicle manufacturing in California is not yet apparent.

Several firm representatives were unavailable for comment on Tuesday when contacted by reporters.

If Western New York hadn’t met all of Governor Cuomo’s conditions for reopening, Panasonic would have had to delay bringing back its workers on May 16th, as The Verge first reported earlier this week.

One of Panasonic’s production workers tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after the factory was shut down in mid-March, making him the fourth known employee at a Tesla facility in the United States to test positive at the time.

Panasonic confirmed earlier this year that it will no longer be involved in the Buffalo factory. Most of the company’s employees were informed that they would only be needed until the end of May, with a few remaining until the beginning of June.

Even though almost two months of output were lost due to the stoppage, Shima assured staff that Panasonic will continue to operate in the factory until June 30. In September, the facility is expected to be completely shut down.

Additionally, Tesla’s “Solar Roof” product is manufactured at the company’s factory in Buffalo, New York. Prior to COVID essentially shutting us down, both from the ability to install and obtain permits, Musk indicated Tesla was “gaining speed with Solar Roof.”

Tesla was also rumored to make COVID-19 ventilators in Musk’s Buffalo facility, but it’s unclear if that ever happened. Instead, the company bought some from China and shipped them to areas in need.

While Panasonic will be closing the factory later this year, there are still overseas orders to be filled by the company.

Tesla had been using solar cells made by a Chinese manufacturer in its Solar Roof tiles before Panasonic and Tesla announced their split in February, and Panasonic had begun exporting the products it creates in its Buffalo factory.

According to the email, Panasonic still needs to fulfill some of these international orders, which is why the business has decided to extend production by one more month.

Panasonic Will Return to Work at Tesla's Solar Factory

Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory reopened to both companies last week. At this factory, Panasonic manufactures battery cells for Tesla’s electric automobiles and energy storage devices.

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According to Panasonic’s CFO, the company is exploring extending its presence in Nevada manufacturing.

According to reports, Tesla and Chinese battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. are working together to develop a new type of battery for its electric vehicles.

Tesla’s third US factory in California has recently resumed car production. After his plants were forced to shut down because of “unconstitutional” and “fascist” stay-at-home orders, CEO Elon Musk has frequently railed against them.

“We will always follow the rules and official guidance from State and local government, even if such differ from our objective for PSNA’s commercial activities,” Shima wrote in an email to workers last week.

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