A week ago Tesla unveiled a “collaboration” with Panasonic that will see the Japanese electronics giant operating SolarCity’s under-construction factory in New York, if Tesla’s proposed acquisition of SolarCity goes through.

The arrangement with Panasonic would represent a major strategic pivot for SolarCity, which acquired Silevo in 2014 for as much as $200m and confidently launched itself into the brutal and China-dominated business of PV manufacturing.

The wording of Tesla’s announcement, and a follow-up statement from Panasonic, raised questions about whether Silevo would have any role to play in Tesla’s manufacturing future.

But