SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk gestures during a conversation at the E3 Games Convention in Los Angeles, June 13, 2019.
Mike Blake | Reuters
Walmart is suing an electric vehicle and Elon Musk's clean energy company after Tesla solar panels over seven of the dealer's stores allegedly lit up, according to a court case.
Walmart lawsuit alleges breach of contract, gross negligence and non-compliance with industry standards. Walmart is asking Tesla to remove solar panels from more than 240 Walmart locations where they were installed, and to pay damages related to all the fires that Walmart says Tesla caused.
The Walmart case in New York states that: "As of November 201
Tesla stocks fell more than 1% after hours on the news. Walmart and Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Walmart claims, among countless complaints, that "Tesla routinely deploys people to inspect solar systems that lack basic solar training and knowledge." In the suit, they also claim that Tesla failed to properly ground its solar and electrical systems and that Tesla-installed solar panels on-site at Walmart stores contain a large number of defects that are visible to the naked eye and that Tesla should have detected and repaired before causing fires.
Tesla has been trying to revive its solar business as of late.
On Sunday, Chief Executive Officer Ilon Musk announced in a series of tweets that customers in some states can now rent Tesla homes, rooftop solar systems without a contract. The offer is available in six states and will cost customers at least $ 50 per month (or $ 65 per month in California).
Although Musk takes advantage of the ease of removing a rented roof at any time, the fine print on Tesla's website mentions: $ 1,500 fee for removing solar panels and restoring the client's roof.
In the second quarter of 2019, Tesla installed only 29 megawatts of solar energy, a record low for the company in one quarter. In its heyday, Tesla's solar division (previously SolarCity) installed over 200 megawatts in a quarter.
When Tesla acquired SolarCity in 2016 for about $ 2.6 billion, the deal sparked a dispute that continues to this day.
SolarCity was founded and operated by the first cousins of Moscow – Peter and Lyndon Reeve. Prior to Tesla's acquisition, Musk owned about one-fifth of SolarCity's shares, which were valued at about $ 575 million at the end of 2015. While SolarCity was a successful installer of solar energy in the previous decade, its shares were shrinking and debt was a $ 3.4 billion balloon before the deal.
In an investor presentation designed to increase support for the acquisition, Musk showed how shiny, glass solar tiles look. Instead of bulky panels, they looked like premium shingles. Solar tiles are not yet widespread or mass produced.
Jordan Novett contributed to this report.
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