Elon Musk’s SolarCity has acquired Silevo, a solar panel manufacturing and design firm that produces low-cost, high-output photovoltaic cells, the company announced today. The deal will help SolarCity “achieve a breakthrough” in solar power pricing thanks to “massive economies of scale,” according to a blog post on the SolarCity website.
Already, the company is talking to the state of New York regarding the construction of an initial manufacturing facility. These talks were already in progress with Silevo pre-acquisition, according to SolarCity, and is targeting an output capacity of more than 1 Gigawatt over the next couple of years, which would make it one of the largest producers in the world. Long-term, the plan is to roll out multiple bigger production facilities with capacity “an order of magnitude” greater than the first. Musk says the end goal is to make solar power incredibly affordable for all:
Goal is for unsubsidized solar power to cost less than grid electricity from coal or fracked gas—
Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 17, 2014
SolarCity was founded in 2006 by Peter and Lyndon Rive, with input and advice from their cousin Musk. It provides power for residential, business and government customers, builds electric vehicle charging stations and also leases solar installations to customers to offset installation costs. The Silevo installation makes it a manufacturer, too, which could help it really ramp up the pace of its mission to replace use of other, less environmentally friendly energy types.
Musk is really putting his foot down on the gas regarding his plans to replace inefficient and harmful energy sources across the businesses he either runs or has a hand in. Just last week, Musk’s Tesla electric vehicle company announced that it would be open-sourcing all patents it holds regarding EV tech, making it free for competitors to use the patents in their own designs. The started reason was that Tesla alone couldn’t do the job of replacing fossil fuel-burning transport in the world fast enough.