Date
20 November 2019
No fewer than seven Walmart stores had experienced fires due to Tesla’s solar systems, according to the lawsuit. Photo: Bloomberg
No fewer than seven Walmart stores had experienced fires due to Tesla’s solar systems, according to the lawsuit. Photo: Bloomberg

Walmart sues Tesla over solar panel fires

Walmart Inc. sued Tesla Inc., saying solar panels supplied by the electric car maker were responsible for fires at about seven of its stores, Reuters reports, citing a lawsuit filed in a New York court on Tuesday.

The fires destroyed significant amounts of store merchandise and required substantial repairs, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket losses, Walmart said in the lawsuit.

As of November 2018, no fewer than seven Walmart stores, including in Denton, Maryland and Beavercreek, Ohio, had experienced fires due to Tesla’s solar systems, according to the lawsuit.

“This is a breach of contract action arising from years of gross negligence and failure to live up to industry standards by Tesla with respect to solar panels that Tesla designed, installed, and promised to operate and maintain safely on the roofs of hundreds of Walmart stores,” Walmart said in the court filing.

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.

Tesla paid US$2.6 billion in 2016 to buy SolarCity, a sales and installation company founded by two cousins of Tesla chief executive Elon Musk.

Tesla is also facing a federal field investigation by the US National Transportation Safety Board after several Model X and Model S owners across the globe said their cars burst into flames, a major disruptor for the company as it tries to ramp up deliveries of its cars.

Shares of the California-based company were down about 1 percent in extended trading.

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