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Walmart sues Tesla over fires at seven stores

Walmart sues Tesla over fires at seven stores


Walmart sues Tesla over fires at seven stores


Walmart has filed a lawsuit against Tesla’s energy division, claiming breach of contract after fires at several stores that were using the electric car maker’s solar panels.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in New York State Supreme Court, Walmart says fires broke out at “no fewer than seven” stores between 2012 and 2018 and caused millions of dollars in damage. One store in Ohio had to be closed for eight days.

“This is a breach of contract action arising from years of gross negligence and failure to live up to industry standards by Tesla with respect to solar panels that Tesla designed, installed, and promised to operate and maintain safely on the roofs of hundreds of Walmart stores,” Walmart’s lawsuit states.

Tesla officials did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.

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According to the lawsuit, the fires originated in the Tesla solar panels.

Walmart says it demanded on May 31, 2018, that Tesla disconnect or de-energize all of the solar panel systems. A fire happened in Yuba City, California, after the solar panels had been de-energized, the suit claims.

A Sam’s Club store owned by Walmart experienced a power outage in January 2017, forcing the store to close, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit was filed two days after Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in a series of tweets Sunday that Tesla is trying to spark its solar-panel business by letting consumers rent rooftop systems rather than buy them.

Tesla bought residential solar installer SolarCity for $2.6 billion in 2016, but installations have plunged in recent quarters. Tesla stopped selling systems in Home Depot stores.

Contributing: Associated Press

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko


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