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Tesla and Panasonic buddy up to build solar panels in Buffalo

Well, that was fast.

BUCKENDORF, BAVARIA, GERMANY - 2016/07/26: Many Photovoltaic solar panels are part of a big solar powerplant. (Photo by Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Frank Bienewald/LightRocket/Getty Images

The SolarCity acquisition isn't even final, but already, Tesla's making moves in the solar industry with its long-time friend Panasonic.

Tesla and Panasonic entered into a "non-binding letter of intent," which is a very formal way of saying "an informal partnership," to build photovoltaic cells and modules -- the stuff that makes up solar panels -- in Buffalo, New York. Panasonic will build the cells and modules in Buffalo, and Tesla will provide a long-term purchase commitment for those parts.

Of course, this could very well fall apart in the 11th hour. The pairing is contingent upon Tesla's acquisition of SolarCity, current owner of the Buffalo plant, which will expand its operations under this partnership. Shareholders will vote on the buyout on November 17, and if all goes according to plan, this collaboration can move forward.

This isn't the first time Tesla and Panasonic have teamed up to accomplish goals in the energy sector. Both companies have invested in the Gigafactory, the massive Tesla plant in Nevada that, when fully operational, will supply Tesla with a steady flow of lithium-ion batteries for its electric cars. It will also vastly expand the availability of those batteries in general.

Meanwhile, ahead of any shareholder vote, Tesla will unveil its first "joint product" with SolarCity on October 28. It's likely nothing car-related, but rather a solar roof, which would involve solar panels mounted atop homes, that send energy directly to Tesla's Powerwall battery.

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