Walmart and Amazon Sue Tesla, Solar Panels Blamed for Fires | 9/17/2019 | Institute for Energy Research
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Walmart is suing Tesla alleging that some of the company’s solar panels sparked roof fires at several of its locations. According to Walmart, Tesla’s solar panels were responsible for at least seven fires that destroyed significant amounts of store merchandise and necessitated substantial repairs to buildings, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Walmart wants Tesla to remove the panels from over 240 Walmart store roofs and cover the costs. Walmart’s push for solar power generation on its store roofs dates back more than a decade, and was announced with much fanfare. Similarly, Amazon alleges a June 2018 blaze on one of its warehouse roofs involved a solar panel that Tesla had installed. Unlike Walmart, Amazon only has a very small number of solar systems installed by Tesla. Both companies want their solar systems to operate reliably, efficiently, and safely.

According to Walmart’s filing, some of the problems with the panels stemmed from a rushed approach to the system’s installation and inspection of panels by Tesla personnel, who lacked basic solar training and knowledge. According to Walmart, its own inspectors observed negligent and dangerous wire connection practices that were readily apparent at many of the sites inspected and are a risk factor in contributing to fires. Walmart indicated it began using solar panels made by Solar City in 2010, before Tesla acquired it in 2016.

Tesla - Buffalo - Factory - Tenant - SolarCity

Tesla bought the Buffalo factory’s main tenant, SolarCity, for almost $5 billion in 2016, accepting $750 million from New York as part of its Buffalo Billion program to revitalize upstate New York—$350 million to build a factory and another $400 million on equipment specified by SolarCity. SolarCity would get a 10-year lease on the facility for $1 a year. Tesla promised to employ at least 1,460 people in “high-tech” jobs at the factory, hire another 2,000 to support...
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