Walmart sues Tesla for faulty solar panels

David Einhorn and Elon Musk

All solar systems installed at Walmart stores are currently de-energised, but according to a joint statement quoted by Reuters, the companies are now looking forward to restarting them once there is certainty that all concerns have been addressed.

In Walmart's complaint, it claims that Tesla didn't handle and maintain solar panels on many of Walmart roofs around the nation according to their agreement, which stipulated that Tesla still owned all the solar panels on Walmarts roofs.

Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn, a short-seller who has publicly sparred with Musk in the past, tweeted his comments Friday morning in the wake of Walmart suing Tesla, claiming it installed faulty solar panels that caught fire at seven Walmart locations - causing millions in damage.

"Above all else, both companies want each and every system to operate reliably, efficiently, and safely", the companies said.

Neither company would say if the lawsuit had been dropped, but New York State Supreme Court records show it was "returned for correction", and it was not accessible online Friday. There are a total of 240 Walmart stores across the USA that have Tesla solar-panel rooftop tiles. One location in OH had to be closed for eight days, Walmart said in the complaint.

The Tesla panels come in three sizes starting at a small 3.8 kilowatt solar panel at $50 per month which generates an average of 10 to 14 kilowatt hours of energy per day; a medium 7.6 kWh for $100 per month, generates between 19 to 28kWh per day; or the large 11.4kWh option for $150 per month producing 29 to 41kWh per day.

Inspections found that several of Tesla's solar panels were broken and that wires were hanging out, causing a fire hazard. Walmart said Tesla Inc., based in Palo Alto, California, engaged in "widespread, systemic negligence" and "failed to abide by prudent industry practices in installing, operating, and maintaining its solar systems". "Over the past year, less than 1% of sites with this connector have exhibited any abnormal behavior", a Tesla representative said.

Court documents described a string of fires that occurred between 2012 and 2018 at Walmart stores in Ohio, Maryland and California. However, the fine print on the company's website says there would be a $1,500 fee to remove the panels and for restoring the customer's roof.

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