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Walmart sues Tesla over solar panels installed at retail giant’s stores

Walmart wants Tesla to remove solar panels from more than 240 of its U.S. stores.

The discounter filed a lawsuit against Tesla Inc., accusing it of “widespread negligence” that led to repeated fires of its solar systems, Reuters reported. The solar energy systems, which were installed and maintained by the electric car maker, were responsible for fires at least seven locations, destroying significant amounts of merchandise in the stores and requiring substantial repairs, totaling millions of dollars in losses, Walmart said in the lawsuit.

The discounter is asking the court to force Tesla to remove the panels from its stores.

The lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, alleges that Tesla used untrained workers who put up shoddy installations and showed “utter incompetence or callousness, or both,” according to the report. The suit alleges that inadequate inspections by Tesla have created a safety hazard for Walmart’s customers and employees.

Walmart became a SolarCity customer in 2010 and, during the next six years, fitted 244 of its store rooftops with solar panels as part of its renewable energy push, Reuters reported. (Tesla acquired SolarCity in 2016.). Under the terms of its solar energy contracts, SolarCity, and then Tesla, was required to install, maintain and operate the panel systems, according to the lawsuit.

In July, Walmart gave Tesla 30 days to provide analyses of the root causes of the fires, compensate the retailer for damages to its stores and demonstrate an overhaul of its operations, among other measures. As of Aug. 15, Tesla “still had not taken any reasonable steps toward curing its breaches,” the lawsuit said.

In the lawsuit, the retailer asks for the court to require Tesla to remove all of its systems from Walmart stores.

Click here for the full Reuters story.
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