Despite CEO Elon Musk’s decision to leave California and sell all of his homes in the state, Tesla seems pretty disinterested in giving up California for now. Tesla has inaugurated a “Megafactory” to produce the industrial-size version of its solar battery, the Megapack, in California today.
The Megafactory will be located in the town of Lathrop. City Mayor Sonny Dahliwal said in a Facebook post: “We are proud to house the Megafactory, Tesla’s newest expansion here. The future of green energy will be produced right here in our community.
Located near Fremont, Lathrop is also home to Tesla’s automotive manufacturing plant and an 870,000 square foot distribution center for the company’s electric vehicles.
Tesla currently manufactures Powerwalls, Powerpacks and Megapacks at the Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada. The Megafactory under construction at Lathrop is the first to be dedicated to making Megapacks, although it is not clear whether it intends to manufacture Powerwalls and Powerpacks at Lathrop as well.
While sales of Tesla’s energy products and batteries haven’t grown as quickly as their EVs, Elon Musk has indicated that the Megapacks will be sold out until next year. They seem to be particularly popular with renewable energy producers who have invested heavily in wind and solar power. Apple bought a few Megapacks to store the energy produced by its solar farm in California. The Arizona-based electric utility Salt River Project also recently activated a 100 megawatt hour Megapack facility.
Tesla also plans to sell up to one million Powerwalls next year. Powerwalls are primarily intended for home use and Tesla is also considering including them in its “virtual power plants” being developed in Australia and California. A distributed power plant in which Powerwall owners can supply electricity to the grid during peak hours could help alleviate the intense load that can overwhelm power grids in areas with unusually hot summers.
To meet the expected demand, Tesla is not only expanding its production capacity of Megapacks. It also plans to secure a supply of semiconductor chips essential for the production of batteries capable of storing solar energy and electric vehicle batteries. Tesla also says that the supply of cells can also put a brake on the rate at which it can produce batteries. According to Musk, Tesla had to make some tough choices in order to compensate for its supply chain challenges.
“We use a lot of the same chips in the Powerwall as in a car, so it’s like, which one to do [we] want to do? ”he said.
Tesla has scaled back its Powerwall production to continue producing enough vehicles to set delivery records for the company. The situation is serious enough that the Biden administration calls a second meeting between semiconductor manufacturers and buyers, although it is not surprising that Biden is snubbing Tesla again, given that he already has it. made during his meeting with car manufacturers.
Tesla, however, seems to anticipate that the problem will eventually be resolved. He had not previously announced his intention to build a Megapack manufacturing plant in Lathrop.