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Musk backs SolarCity’s panel manufacturing push

Elon Musk still is backing SolarCity’s plans to build North America’s biggest solar panel factory in Buffalo.

Musk, in a conference call Wednesday, said the high-efficiency panels that SolarCity plans to make in Buffalo will be a key part of the solar energy systems installer’s efforts to reduce costs.

“I’m highly confident we will be the world’s best manufacturer, not by a small margin, but by a margin most people don’t believe is possible,” Musk said.

The panels that SolarCity plans to make in Buffalo will be able to convert more of the sun’s energy into electricity, allowing the company’s systems to generate as much power as a conventional system with fewer panels and less wiring and other equipment. Likewise, a high-efficiency system with a similar surface area could generate more power.

“On the same roof, you can get as much as a third more power” using technology developed by Silevo, a solar panel manufacturer acquired by SolarCity two years ago, Musk said.

“The Silevo technology is going to make quite a big difference,” Musk said. “There are dramatic improvements.”