In the words of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, “SolarCity was founded to accelerate mass adoption of sustainable energy,” which company is working hard to increase the efficiency and availability of solar power systems.
In an announcement yesterday, Elon Musk revealed that SolarCity had signed an agreement, acquiring Silevo, a solar panel manufacturer. This may seem counterintuitive in a world that currently has a glut of mass-produced, inefficient, and cheap solar panels. In fact, there are some companies that have gone out of business trying to keep up with the masses of cheap, and sometimes defective, solar panels coming out of China.
Investing in even more solar panel manufacturing seems like the wrong game for SolarCity to be getting into, but only if you ‘re looking at profits. On the other hand, if you take a look at Elon Musk’s business plan at Tesla Motors, profit is only a small part of it. Tesla Motors isn’t the world’s biggest automaker, by far, but has fomented a revolution in zero-emissions transportation. SolarCity is just another facet of the whole plan, meant to foment a revolution in zero-emissions energy production. So solar panels are low-profit, so what?
SolarCity’s acquisition of Silevo makes perfect sense if you look at it from a revolution standpoint. Some government entities are dropping clean energy incentives, which makes solar power systems, as well as other renewable energy systems, less attractive. Reducing solar panel prices by expanding production will serve to boost the attractiveness of solar power systems, and SolarCity plans on building one of the biggest solar panel manufacturing facilities in the world to make it happen.
As Elon Musk continues to say in the SolarCity blog, “Our intent is to combine what we believe is fundamentally the best photovoltaic technology with massive economies of scale to achieve a breakthrough in the cost of solar power.”
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