Tesla Sued By Walmart For Solar Panel-Related Fires & Other Issues

A solar panel is displayed on a wall at the Tesla showroom in New York in 2017

A solar panel is displayed on a wall at the Tesla showroom in New York in 2017

Tesla is trying to spark its solar-panel business by letting consumers rent rooftop systems rather than buy them.

Three fires broke out in the spring of 2018.

"Many of the problems stemmed from a rushed, negligent approach to the systems' installation", Walmart said in the complaint.

The world's largest retailer started using solar panels made by SolarCity in 2010 and the roofs of around 240 of its stores were fitted with solar panels made by the company.

Walmart started using solar panels, made by Tesla-owned SolarCity, on the roofs of some of their stores in 2010 - including in Maryland and OH - and had around 240 in total of its stores fitted with the panels.

Walmart said the first blaze broke out at a store in Beavercreek, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton, in March 2018, and two more fires occurred at stores in California and Maryland in May of that year. "At each location, the fire had originated in the Tesla solar panels", the court papers charge.

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The earliest fire was in 2012 at a Long Beach, California, store, another in Milpitas, California, in 2016 and a third in Lakeside, Colorado, in 2017.

Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart Inc. did not specify how much money it is seeking from Tesla in the lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court, saying that the amount would be determined at trial.

The lawsuit says that Tesla's inspectors "lacked basic solar training and knowledge".

Tesla acquired SolarCity, founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk's cousins, for $2.6 billion in 2016.

"Tesla has also demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to remediate the unsafe conditions documented in its inspection reports", the complaint says. Tesla stopped selling systems in Home Depot stores.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

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