It looks like Tesla has finally started on what could become ‘the world’s largest solar rooftop array’ at Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. Once finished, the 70-megawatt system will overshadow an 11.5-megawatt array in India that can power 8,000 homes.
On July 16, 2016, Elon Musk took to Twitter, writing: “Should mention that Gigafactory will be fully powered by clean energy when complete & include battery recycling.”
Sparks, Nevada-based Gigafactory 1 is where Tesla produces batteries using Panasonic energy storage products for Tesla Energy, as well as its own Model 3 battery packs and drive units.
In January 2017, according to RenewEconomy, Tesla aired its plans to power its Gigafactory 1 through a combination rooftop and ground-mounted solar. “GF1 is an all-electric factory with no fossil fuels (natural gas or petroleum) directly consumed,” Tesla said at the time.
However, with no action from Tesla on the project and no word from the company, the project took on mythical proportions – almost like a fairy tale, with rumors circulating that the project had been shelved. The whole tale is a bit confusing though.
Tesla claims it already has a “solar Gigafactory”, known as Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York where they manufacture solar products. However, Gigafactory 2 is powered by hydroelectricity — which, in all fairness is a renewable source of electricity.
Satellite imagery shows progress on the project
Surprisingly, satellite imagery, dated February 21, from a website called Building Tesla shows that solar panels are finally coming up on the north side of Gigafactory 1. Several websites, including RenewEconomy and Electrek, have contacted Tesla, asking for confirmation of the construction.
Electtrek writes they would like to know if “Tesla is using its own new Panasonic solar modules manufactured at Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, creating some new synergy between Tesla’s two gigafactories?” However, until Elon Musk takes to Twitter with a response, we are left with just a satellite image.
Gigafactory 1 is still under construction. The factory is being built in phases Tesla and its partners can manufacture products while the building continues to expand, reports EcoWatch. The factory currently is about 4.9 million square feet of operational space. This represents only about 30 percent of the planned completed Gigafactory, according to Tesla.