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Walmart sues Tesla over solar panel fires at seven stores

Walmart is letting Elon Musk’s electric vehicle and clean energy company after Tesla solar panels atop seven of the retailer’s stocks allegedly caught fire, according a court filing.

The Walmart suit alleges breach of contract, gross failure and failure to live up to industry standards. Walmart is asking Tesla to remove solar panels from more than 240 Walmart positions where they have been installed, and to pay damages related to all the fires Walmart says that Tesla caused.

The Walmart costume, filed in the state of New York, alleges that: “As of November 2018, no fewer than seven Walmart assembles had experienced fires due to Tesla’s solar systems – including the four fires described above and three others that had occurred earlier.” The put details evacuations, damaged property and inventory.

Tesla’s stock dropped more than 1% after hours on the story.

Walmart claimed, among myriad complaints, that “Tesla routinely deployed individuals to inspect the solar approaches who lacked basic solar training and knowledge.” In the suit, they also alleged that Tesla failed to initiate its solar and electrical systems properly, and that Tesla-installed solar panels on-site at Walmart stores contained a piercing number of defects that were visible to the naked eye, and which Tesla should have found and repaired in front they led to fires.

Tesla has been trying to revive its solar business of late.

On Sunday, CEO Elon Musk asserted in a string of tweets that customers in some states can now rent Tesla’s residential, solar rooftop systems without a draw together. The offer is available in six states, and will cost customers at least $50 a month (or $65 a month in California).

Although Musk peddled the ease of cancelling a rented roof at anytime, the fine print on Tesla’s website mentions a $1,500 fee to take out the solar panels and bring back the customer’s roof.

In the second quarter of 2019, Tesla installed a mere 29 megawatts of solar, a record low for the crowd in a single quarter. In its heyday, Tesla’s solar division (formerly SolarCity) installed over 200 megawatts in a set aside quarter.

When Tesla acquired SolarCity in 2016 for around $2.6 billion the deal caused controversy that endures to this day.

SolarCity was founded and run by Musk’s first cousins, Peter and Lyndon Rive. Prior to Tesla’s acquisition, Musk owned hither one-fifth of SolarCity stock, which was valued around $575 million at the end of 2015. While SolarCity had been a top solar installer in the prior decade, its stock was plummeting, and debt had ballooned to $3.4 billion before the deal secure.

In an investor presentation meant to drum up support for the acquisition, Musk showed off what appeared to be sleek, glass solar roof tiles. Willingly prefer than bulky panels, they looked like premium shingles. The solar roof tiles are still not to a large distributed or mass-manufactured.

Walmart and Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Jordan Novet contributed to this tell of.

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