During the course of 2018, seven Walmart stores allegedly caught fire due to the Tesla solar panels that were installed on them. Walmart had agreed with Tesla to install solar panels on hundreds of its stores. The company now is suing Tesla under breach of contract and negligence theories. Walmart seeks to have the solar panels removed and also wants Tesla to pay compensation for the damage caused by the fires.
The lawsuit, which was filed in a New York court, argues that the Tesla solar panels contained many defects that were clearly visible. It also argues that the panels were not properly grounded. Furthermore, Walmart alleges that the people retained by Tesla to inspect the solar panels were not properly trained and qualified.
Tesla operates a division dedicated to solar energy, which was known as SolarCity before Tesla acquired it. Tesla’s involvement in the solar industry has declined recently. However, it makes solar rooftop systems available in six states to residential property owners, who can rent them without a contract. Customers can cancel the rentals, although they will need to pay a fee for Tesla to remove the panels and restore the roof.
Shortly after Tesla entered the solar industry, CEO Elon Musk suggested that it would be able to provide glass solar roof tiles. The images in his presentation resembled architectural shingles. These tiles have not yet become available for general use, though, and Tesla’s plans to develop them have progressed more slowly than expected.
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