Tesla solar powered $5 billion Gigafactory

Posted on Feb 23 2016 - 7:25pm by In-house Geek

Tesla Gigafactory has been widely reported in the news especially since July 2014 when Panasonic announced to partner with Tesla in the construction of the $5billion (USD) factory that is reportedly the world’s largest solar powered factory and also the world’s largest battery manufacturing plant.

Admittedly, it appears to be quite an odd topic to talk about Nigeria in a discourse on a United States based Tesla Motors Inc. There are obviously lessons we can draw from this as we shall see later.

What is the Tesla Gigafactory?

The 1,000 acre land Tesla Gigafactory is an initiative of Tesla Motors Inc. where Tesla batteries will be manufactured at a much reduced cost thereby reducing the production of Tesla Electric vehicle battery and the Tesla Powerwall as high as by 30%. It is projected that by the year 2020, the Tesla Gigafactory would produce 50 GWh/yr of battery packs as well as 35 gigawatt-hours per year of cells!

Architecture of the Gigafactory

Perhaps, the most remarkable thing about the Tesla Gigafactory is its architecture. Before the Nevada site was chosen, Tesla Motors Inc. considered citing the Gigafactory’s site in a number of places including California, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas as well as Nevada where there is an abundant supply of sunlight.

The 5 million-square-foot (465,000-square-meter), diamond-shaped Lithium-ion battery factory is built with renewable energy in mind especially solar. The building will generate all the electricity it needs. Take a look at the Tesla Gigafactory below and notice especially how the roof is covered by Photovoltaic panels!

Tesla Gigaffactory Did you notice the windmills too? Photo: Teslamotors.com

Tesla Gigaffactory
Did you notice the windmills too?
Photo: Teslamotors.com

 

United States Involvement in the Gigafactory: Any lesson for Nigeria?

Perhaps the commonest thing about the United States and Nigeria is need for renewable energy. Of course, the United States is a developed country and Nigeria and Africa by extension is way behind them in the utilization of the several ways Renewable energy can contribute the nation’s economy and increase the average standard of living of the people.

But Nigeria as an African economic power must learn to catch up fast with what is already working in other countries.

 

For example, let’s look at the Government’s involvement in the establishment of the Tesla Gigafactory, although Tesla Motors Inc. is a privately owned company.

 

As I wrote earlier on, the Tesla Gigafactory is cited in the state of Nevada. In 2014, Bloomberg Business News reported that The Nevada State Government has agreed to offer a whopping $1.3 billion in tax incentives to build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery plant in their state. In addition, Bloomberg wrote:

 

“Tesla would pay no sales taxes for 20 years and no property or business taxes for 10 years. It also would receive $195 million of tax credits over 20 years.”

 

The question remains: “Why would a State Government spend so much resource just to get a private investor to cite a factory in his state?”

 

The answer isn’t quite farfetched. The Tesla Gigafactory was estimated to employ about 6,500 people and Nevada state Governor, Brian Sandoval estimated that Nevada would enjoy $100 billion in economic benefit over two decades from the construction of this factory –Quite a huge benefit on the short and long-run to the government, isn’t it?

 

Now bringing this down to our country Nigeria, you will quite appreciate the fact that we need more jobs in Nigeria than the United States by far, our government also critically needs more sources of revenue than the United states.

According to a Thisday publication on the unemployment rate in Nigeria in the first quarter of 2015:

 

“Accordingly 44.3 per cent of Nigerians in the labour force (not entire population) aged 15 to 24 were either unemployed or underemployed; while another 25.9 per cent aged 25 to 34 were either unemployed or under employed in Q1 2015.”

Such high unemployment figures as above simply means that the Nigeria government must strive to ensure that private sector involvement is very much encouraged. Nigeria must borrow a leaf from the United States and the Nevada state government to ensure that the private sector that ultimately generates employment opportunities for the people and additional revenue to the government are well protected and nurtured from infancy until they can solidly stand.