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Walmart Sues Tesla Over Solar Panel Fires At Stores


Walmart filed a lawsuit against Elon Musk's Tesla for breach of contract alleging that its solar panels on top of seven stores caught fire due to poor safety practices.

The news comes as Tesla is relaunching its solar panel business with rental option in the United States with a view to boosting its weakening solar installations.

In a court filing in the state of New York, the retail giant accused Tesla of years of gross negligence and failure to meet industry standards. Walmart said the fires started on the rooftops of many stores in California, Maryland and Ohio that had installed Tesla solar panels.

Walmart has demanded that the electric car and energy company pay damages related to the fires as well as remove solar panels from over 240 Walmart stores.

In the suit, the retailer accused that Tesla failed to properly ground its electrical and solar systems and regularly sent inspectors who lacked basic solar training and knowledge. Walmart also claimed that Tesla's panels had a high number of visible defects.

Walmart has been in clean energy partnership with Tesla for many years. It had ordered rooftop panels from Solar City even before its acquisition by Tesla in 2016.

Last Sunday, Musk, Tesla's Chief Executive Officer, had announced in a series of tweets about the relaunching of its solar panel business in six states with no long-term contract. Tesla plans to launch Solar business in Europe next year.

Tesla claimed that its solar system helps to save around $500 per year in utility bills. According to Musk, the solar system can be canceled any time, but Tesla would charge users $1,500 to cover its cost to remove the system from the roof.

Tesla, through SolarCity, was one of the largest solar providers once, installing more than 200 megawatts over three months. However, its business had gone weak, and it deployed only 29 megawatts of new solar installations in the latest second quarter.

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