Giga Nevada’s rooftop solar array grows to 8 megawatts

Soon after Tesla opened Giga Nevada in 2016, the company announced plans to cover the rooftop of the 1.9 million square foot factory with solar panels.

Those initial plans called for a 70 megawatt (MW) system, which if it was built would have made it the largest rooftop solar installation in the United States.

The solar panels started appearing on the roof in 2018, but it did not grow as planned with just a small portion of the roof being covered. As of the most recent update from Tesla in their 2020 Impact Report, the system had a capacity of 3.2MW. They also scaled back the total planned capacity of the system to 24MW.

According to Jeff Jackson, Tesla’s infrastructure lead for the facility, the system now has an installed capacity of 8MW. Jackson shared the updated figure during a meeting at Giga Nevada on Thursday, the details of which were obtained by CNBC.

While the 8MW figure is a nice jump from the previously reported amount, it is still well off the capacity Tesla hoped to achieve by the end of 2021, as mentioned in their 2020 Impact Report.

“To date, we have installed solar panels with a capacity of 3,200 KW. This installation will grow to about 24,000 KW—the whole roof of the current building structure—by the end of next year.”

Giga Nevada isn’t the only Tesla facility with a rooftop solar array. As of 2020 the automaker said they have a combined capacity from all of their facilities of 21.4MW.

That number will increase substantially in the future as Giga Texas is also currently being covered in solar panels.

Making the Giga Texas installation unique compared to the others is that the negative space in the panels spell out the word ‘T E S L A’, a perfect advertisement for the company for the millions of people that fly over the factory as they land at the Austin International Airport.

Other details revealed during the Giga Nevada meeting on Thursday include a shakeup in the leadership of the factory, as well as some impressive Megapack and Powerwall production figures.

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