image The Elon Musk playbook for disrupting energy: vertical integration and huge factories

A Silevo cell, image courtesy of Silevo.


Electric car maker Tesla (s TSLA) isn’t the only company looking to build a massive factory in an attempt to upend an industry. SolarCity (s SCTY) announced on Tuesday that not only is it buying up a company that makes solar hardware — for the first time moving into solar manufacturing and becoming even more vertically integrated in the solar industry — but that it plans to build one of the world’s largest (1 GW) next-gen solar manufacturing factories in Buffalo, New York, which one day could be expanded into the world’s largest of its kind.

If SolarCity’s playbook sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Well, kind of. Tesla is building the world’s largest lithium ion battery factory somewhere in the U.S., in an attempt to lower the costs of the batteries in its cars — and thus the price point of those cars. Tesla is also trying to ramp…

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