Retail chain Walmart is suing Elon Musk’s electric vehicle and clean energy company after Tesla solar panels atop seven of the retailer’s stores allegedly caught fire, CNBC reported.
The Walmart, according a court filing, alleges breach of contract, gross negligence and failure to live up to industry standards. Walmart is asking Tesla to remove solar panels from more than 240 Walmart locations, and to pay damages related to all the fires Walmart says that Tesla caused.
The Walmart suit, filed in the state of New York, alleges 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 claimed that “Tesla routinely deployed individuals to inspect the solar systems who lacked basic solar training and knowledge. 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.
On Sunday, CEO Elon Musk announced that customers in some states can now rent Tesla’s residential, solar rooftop systems without a contract. The offer is available in six states, and will cost customers at least $50 a month (or $65 a month in California). Tesla will charge $1,500 fee to take out the solar panels and restore the customer’s roof.
Tesla installed 29 megawatts of solar in the second quarter of 2019, a record low for the company in a single quarter.