Walmart alleges negligence, sues Tesla over solar panel fires

Retail giant Walmart sues Elon Musk’s Tesla, blaming malfunctioning solar panels for fires in at least seven stores. The retailer wants the EV manufacturer to remove solar panel installations in 240 Walmart locations.

21st Aug 2019
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Retail giant Walmart has taken EV manufacturer Tesla to court for breach of contract, gross negligence, and failure to live up to industry standards.


In a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court, Walmart alleged that malfunctioning Tesla solar panels started fires at “no fewer than” seven Walmart stores, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.


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The suit stated that: “As of November 2018, no fewer than seven Walmart stores had experienced fires due to Tesla's solar systems - including the four fires described above and three others that had occurred earlier.” The filing details evacuations, damaged property, and inventory.


Walmart now wants Tesla to remove solar panel installations in 240 Walmart locations, and to pay damages related to the fires in seven locations.


Tesla's stock dropped more than 1 percent hours after the news.


Accusations against Elon Musk's Tesla


According to CNBC, Walmart claimed that "Tesla routinely deployed individuals to inspect the solar systems who lacked basic solar training and knowledge”.


In the suit, as reported by CNBC, the retailer alleged that Tesla failed to ground its solar and electrical systems properly, and that Tesla-installed solar panels on-site at Walmart stores contained a high number of defects that were visible to the naked eye, and which Tesla should have found and repaired before they led to fires.


Elon Musk

Elon Musk has been trying to revive Tesla's solar energy business for more than a year now.

Tesla has been trying to revive its solar business for over a year now. Founder Elon Musk recently announced that consumers can now rent Tesla's residential, solar rooftop systems without a contract. The offer is available for as low as $50.


In the second quarter, Tesla installed only 29 megawatts of solar, a record low for the company in a single quarter when compared to a few years ago when Tesla's solar division (formerly SolarCity) installed over 200 megawatts in a single quarter.


(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)




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