Just this weekend, Tesla Chief Executive Officer and founder Elon Musk announced that the company would be rolling out its take on solar panels for a second time, though, this time around, customers would be able to rent them for as low as $50 per month.
Unfortunately for Musk and his innovative electric car company, the second coming of Tesla’s solar panels aren’t getting off to too hot of a start, as Walmart sued Tesla earlier today, on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019, accusing the California-based tech-cum-car company of “widespread negligence” as a direct result of Tesla’s solar panels catching on fire at a total of seven Walmart locations.
Things aren’t looking too good for Tesla as related to this lawsuit, as Musk’s company installed all of the solar energy systems at the seven aforementioned Walmart stores itself, meaning that Walmart couldn’t have exercised negligence in installing the solar panels.
Dozens more Walmart locations with Tesla solar panels across the United States have reported issues among the likes of panels accumulating hot spots and the solar power harnessing systems being wired together poorly, both of which could result in further fires. This information came directly from the documents filed by Walmart Inc. earlier today in New York State Supreme Court. So far, Tesla hasn’t officially responded to the allegations made by Walmart.
Further, Walmart’s lawsuit goes on to say that Tesla hired workers who weren’t trained thoroughly enough to install the poor-quality installations of solar panels and other equipment necessary to harness the power of solar energy. To quote the lawsuit, the workers exhibited “utter incompetence or callousness, or both.”
In order to compete in the solar energy industry, Tesla forked over a sum of $2.6 billion to fully acquire SolarCity back in 2016. Since Tesla purchased SolarCity, the number of quarterly solar system installations that Tesla has been hired to install have fallen upward of 85 percent since the acquisition of SolarCity three-odd years ago.
Tesla has parted ways with its force of solar panel and solar energy system salespeople and even ended a solar panel distribution deal it had in place with Home Depot.
According to Walmart’s lawsuit, the aforementioned fires caused a total of millions of dollars’ worth of losses. Stores in Beavercreek, Ohio, and Denton, Maryland, were among the seven Walmart locations that had suffered fires from Tesla’s solar panels. Walmart further claims that insufficient inspections of solar power systems’ safety directly led to the fires at its stores.