Work underway on Tesla’s rooftop solar system in Texas


From pv magazine USA

Tesla’s ongoing construction of its Texas Gigafactory appears to have reached the stage where solar panels are being installed. According to information posted by one of many individuals who fly drones over the active construction site, the three main manufacturers are Longi for the solar panels, Unirac for the mechanical racking, and SolarEdge for the inverters.

Drone pilot Joe Tegtmeyer has posted a video on YouTube showing the hardware that is being deployed. The 20-minute video starts with a discussion of the hardware, with Tegtmeyer noting the manufacturers.

At the 7:15 mark of the video, the drone crests the western edge of the building, bringing the pallets of gear into focus. Then, by about the 8:00 mark, the drone heads off to other parts of the structure.


The drone operator speculates that the Longi solar panels are Hi-MO5 bifacial products. While this might be true, the images and video do not confirm the specifications of the panels. However, the racking hardware specifications are quite clearly Unirack’s RM10 EVO product. This product is a ballasted racking solution that is specifically designed for bifacial solar panels. It is angled at 10 degrees and faces south.

The third manufacturer noted in the Tegtmeyer video is SolarEdge. While there are no drone shots close enough to read the labels, one can assume SolarEdge’s Synergy product line is used.

Image: Joe Tegtmeyer

When building the first Gigafactory in Nevada, Tesla suggested that the plant would have the world’s largest rooftop solar power plant, at approximately 70MW (DC). But in the years since, that solar power installation has never been completed.

It was recently suggested that the first Gigafactory installation will now be sized closer to 22 MW. While that wouldn’t break any world records, it could still earn the respectable title of largest rooftop solar power installation in the United States.

At the Texas Gigafactory, reporters have not attempted to guess the size of the solar rooftop. So, this author did a very rough – and not fully compliant – design in Helioscope to give readers an idea of the scope of this colossal structure.

Image: Joe Tegtmeyer

The 4.2 million-square-foot outline could hold approximately 114,000 Longi LR5-HBD-545M solar panels. The total wattage of these solar panels could reach 62MW. If we remove 5% of those panels to meet local fire inspector regulations for walkways, the facility could potentially host as much as 59MW of capacity.

The multi-story manufacturing facility could probably use most of that electricity, but for now, that information is still unknown. It seems reasonable to assume that the facility will contain at least some integrated energy storage as a hedge against Texas’ questionably winterized power grid/natural gas situation, especially given Tesla’s world-leading expertise on the topic.

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