Walmart Sues Tesla Over Solar Panel Fire, Claims Breach Of Contract


Corporate giant Walmart sued Tesla Motor Co. over faulty solar panels atop seven Walmart stores that have caught fire since November 2018. Walmart has moved to the State Supreme court and has filed a lawsuit against Tesla claiming ‘Breach of Contract,’ ‘Gross Negligence’ and ‘Breach of Industry Standards.’

Walmart also claimed that the repairman that came around to fix solar panels and for regular inspection was an amateur. According to Walmart, the solar roof repairman showed ‘utter incompetence, or callousness or both.’

Walmart currently has 240 stores with Tesla solar panels installed on its roof. The fire occurred in seven Walmart stores across a period of several months, causing significant damage to merchandise and infrastructure worth millions of dollars.

Faulty Solar Panels And Inexperienced Inspection Agent To Blame

Walmart has gone to court to get an order to remove all solar panels from its 240 stores and pay for the damage. Walmart is accusing Tesla of rushing over the installation process of solar panels that ultimately caused the fire. The company is also blaming Tesla for providing untrained technical and repair support that worsened the entire situation.

The Tesla Solar panel is a product of the SolarCity, a company that Tesla acquired a while back. The acquisition of the SolarCity for $2.6 billion in 2016 by Tesla was also seen as a controversial move by several people because both were owned by Elon Musk himself. Thus, it was less of an acquisition and more of inside trading.

In the Q2 2019, SolarCity was only able to install only 29 megawatts of solar energy panels, which is quite low for a company this size.

Walmart Sues Tesla: Breach Of Contract Explained

Walmart bought solar panels from SolarCity back in 2010 for its 244 stores. The purchase was part of an initiative by Walmart to generate 35% of its total energy using renewable sources by 2020.

The reason why Walmart is claiming a ‘breach of contract’ because Tesla-owned SolarCity was supposed to take care of the regular maintenance of solar panels atop installed on Walmart’s roof.

According to Walmart, the currently installed solar panels are a safety hazard for its employees and customers. Walmart claims that after inspection of the rest of the Tesla solar panels, the sign of ‘widespread negligence’ was quite apparent.

In July last month, Walmart gave Tesla 30 days to give an explanation of the root cause of the fire caused by its solar panels. However, as of August 5, 2019, Tesla failed to live up to its contract.

SolarCity was recently in the news when Elon Musk announced a brand new plan to make owning the company’s solar panels more affordable.

There is no comment from the Tesla’s SolarCity as of yet, we will keep you updated as this story develops.

Also Read: Tesla Q2 Earnings And Co-Founder’s Exit Brings Chaos But There’s Hope
Yetnesh Dubey

Yetnesh Dubey

Associate Editor at Fossbytes. Yetnesh manages the everyday editorial duties and oversees the writing staff. He occasionally covers news related to electric vehicles and tech.
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