Walmart filed a lawsuit against Tesla on Tuesday blaming the company’s solar panels for seven fires.
The retail giant accused Tesla of “gross negligence and failure to live up to industry standards.” The lawsuit recounts several 2018 incidents which it claims cumulatively resulted in millions of dollars in damage.
This was often caused, the lawsuit claims, by a “rushed, negligent approach to the systems’ installation.” Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that Tesla “routinely deployed individuals to inspect the solar systems who lacked basic solar training and knowledge.”
Walmart is suing for breach of contract and asking Tesla to remove its solar panels from 244 Walmart locations, as well as pay for damages resulting from the fires.
The lawsuit also contains an interesting section on SolarCity, which Tesla acquired in 2016. It essentially claimed that SolarCity aimed to increase its revenue by installing as many solar panels as possible, but did so shoddily, which resulted in faulty solar panel installations.
“Tesla, Inc. proved unable to manage the solar panel systems that they had inherited from SolarCity, to correct the problems that SolarCity’s grow-fast business model had created and to maintain the already faulty solar systems that Tesla was under a contractual obligation to operate,” the lawsuit alleges.
Tesla acquired SolarCity, which Musk had already partially owned at the time, for $2.6 billion in 2016, but business hasn’t exactly been booming. Tesla announced a fancy solar roof in October 2016, but it’s been extremely slow to bring it to market. The company recently announced a program for renting solar panels.
Despite the issues, Walmart isn’t giving up on solar. The company’s vice president of energy Mark Venderhelm told Bloomberg the company plans “to tirelessly pursue renewable energy projects that are right for our customers, our business and the environment.”