(Reuters) – Walmart Inc has sued Tesla Inc , accusing it of “years of gross negligence and failure to live up to industry standards” that led to several fires at its stores with Tesla solar systems.
Walmart hired SolarCity to install solar panel systems on at least 244 of its stores. Tesla bought SolarCity in 2016, and Walmart alleges that Tesla did not fix the problems it inherited and was negligent itself.
Tesla - Requests - Comment - Response - Lawsuit
Tesla has not responded to requests for comment or filed a response to the lawsuit. In Walmart’s August 20 filing, though, the U.S. retailer describes its view of how the fight developed over several years.
The following is a timeline based on Walmart’s lawsuit:
Walmart - Signs - Contracts - Systems - Company
Walmart signs at least 244 contracts for solar systems with the company later bought by Tesla.
Tesla solar panels cause fires at Walmart stores in Long Beach, California, Milpitas, California and Lakeside, Colorado. They are not treated as related or systematic problems.
Walmart - Stores - Beavercreek - Ohio - Denton
Walmart stores in Beavercreek, Ohio, Denton, Maryland and Indio, California experience roof fires. Hours before the Indio fire started, Tesla had dispatched personnel to the store; Walmart believes this was to attend to a possible alert.
Walmart and Tesla begin joint inspections of sites lasting until December 2018.
Course - Walmart - Inspections - Hotspots - Panels
Over the course of Walmart inspections it says it finds hotspots in solar panels’ cracked sheets, compromising electrical insulation. It blames Tesla for failing to properly ‘hire, train and supervise’ its contractors.
It found Tesla put wires near sharp points and metal edges, used incorrect connectors that built up heat and failed properly to tighten connectors, used plastic tools with insufficient strength and plumbing tools, and improperly grounded systems, and kept poor records. During inspections, Walmart said, Tesla searched for problems with drones that lacked sufficient resolution to find panel “hotspots” and put tape on hotspots which exacerbated heat buildup.
August - Walmart
By August 2019, Walmart...
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