Tesla just announced it’s offered to acquire solar panel installation company SolarCity in a deal that would cost the firm approximately $2.8 billion (£1.9 billion, AU$3.75 billion) worth of stock.
Tesla might be most known for its cars, but it’s had ambitions beyond automobiles for years. Last year, the company announced its Tesla Energy program to sell battery systems for powering homes and businesses. The company is also working on its gigantic Gigafactory battery plant in Sparks, Nevada.
The purchase of SolarCity makes complete sense as Tesla can offer both automobiles and a way to power them under one roof. Electric vehicles are only as clean as the source of their electricity, so giving Tesla owners a way to power their cars (and homes) from the sun is a no-brainer.
"It’s now time to complete the picture," wrote the Tesla team in a company blog post. "Tesla customers can drive clean cars and they can use our battery packs to help consume energy more efficiently, but they still need access to the most sustainable energy source that’s available: the sun."
Tesla, the energy company
Tesla explains the acquisition would make it "the world’s only vertically integrated energy company" and that its technology would allow users to consume electricity in an efficient and sustainable way.
The deal hasn’t gone through yet as the SolarCity board still has to vote on Tesla’s proposal. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is also on the SolarCity board, but will not vote on the merger due to the deal’s inherent conflict of interest.
Musk’s connections with SolarCity run deep: He helped start the company, and it’s run by two of his cousins. He owns 22% of SolarCity and 21% of Tesla, according to Vox.com.
Musk said on a call with reporters that the purchase of SolarCity won’t have an impact on the production of the highly anticipated Tesla Model 3 sedan, as reported by Marco della Cava of USA Today on Twitter.
"To solve a sustainable energy problem you need generation, storage and electric transport," Musk said. "We’re not an automotive company."