Tesla's Buffalo, N.Y. factory continues to experience production challenges in its solar operations, and insiders attribute the delays to the "aesthetic demands" of CEO Elon Musk.
Tesla's partner, Panasonic, has had to secure other buyers for panel components it built to sell to Tesla, according to a Panasonic employee, a former Panasonic employee and a former Tesla employee, Reuters reports, adding that the delays are shaking the belief of New York State officials that the company can provide the return on the state's $750 million investment via state subsidies. A former Tesla employee explains, “Aesthetic look is the key point that Elon is always not satisfied with. That’s the big issue.”
Tesla confirmed in a statement to Reuters that it has been seeking to improve on its production process for the solar roof at the New York plant. “We are steadily ramping up Solar Roof production in Buffalo and are also continuing to iterate on the product design and production process,” the company said in the statement. “We plan to ramp production more toward the end of 2018.” The company did not detail its current production and did not comment on its component purchases from partner Panasonic, which shares space in the factory and plans to produce Tesla solar panels and photovoltaic cells for the roofs.