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SolarCity could help fuel Tesla's growth

Tesla's $2.6 billion offer to buy SolarCity is more about Tesla than it is about the struggling SolarCity. That's according to Harold Star, a business professor at the University at Buffalo. Star said, acquiring SolarCity marks Tesla's transition from a "media darling" to a mass producer of electric automobiles.

"If they're perceived as an energy company and a disrupter at the same time, now the stock market,  presumably, will become friendly to Tesla and allow it to manage SolarCity's debts, or absorb the debts," Star said.  

The acquisition, Star said, is also an acknowledgment by Tesla that in order to survive the company has to shift from electric car designer to a more traditional automaker.

"And the only way they can make this work is by talking it all up as though they are somehow special and cool, and innovative, and cutting edge. They're not the dinosaur. They're the future," Star said.

The deal could be good for the future of SolarCity's new factory in South Buffalo. But, he said, success will be well down the road.