Walmart Sues Tesla Claiming Its Solar Panels Are Erupting In Flames

Walmart has filed a lawsuit against Tesla in New York Supreme Court stating that the electric car manufacturers’ solar panels have caused fires.

The New York Times says the lawsuit contends the company experienced at least seven rooftop fires at retailer stores between 2012 and 2018 and asserts that they were caused by issues associated with the solar panels installed by Tesla.

Walmart says that those solar panels have been installed on the roofs of more than 200 of its 5,000 locations across the United States and accuses Tesla of engaging in “widespread, systemic negligence” and “failing to abide by prudent industry practices in installing, operating and maintaining its solar systems.”

Also Read: Walmart Chases $1 Trillion B2B Autonomous Delivery Market

The lawsuit goes on to state that Tesla “adopted an ill-considered business model that required it to install solar panel systems haphazardly and as quickly as possible in order to turn a profit.”

The first fire occurred at a store in Long Beach, California in 2012 and, in the ensuing years, other such incidents were reported in Ohio, Maryland, and elsewhere. “The stores all had Tesla solar panels installed by Tesla on their roofs,” Walmart says in the lawsuit.

The retailing giant soon demanded Tesla disconnect the solar panels it had installed on its stores after the fires and claims they agreed that “de-energization” would be a good idea. However, yet another fire occurred on a rooftop last November, and according to the complaint, the wires of the solar panels were still sparking despite the panels having been disconnected five months prior.

Neither Tesla nor Walmart have, so far, responded to requests regarding the lawsuit.

  • robotlogic

    Just unplugging solar panels doesn’t make them stop putting out electricity in the sun, duhhh.
    Painting the glass surface of the panels with latex black paint would stop them for putting out power.
    Later on someone could power wash the paint off and restore their function.

  • TheBelltower

    “…seven rooftop fires at retailer stores between 2012 and 2018 and asserts that they were caused by issues associated with the solar panels installed by Tesla”

    Tesla didn’t have a solar company until they acquired Solarcity in Fall 2016. So this timeline doesn’t make sense.

    • Jay

      It doesn’t mean they didn’t provide services to businesses like Walmart before acquiring SolarCity…

    • Patrick

      Solarcity, a company started by Elon Musk’s family of which Elon was heavily invested in, did exist in 2012 so the timeline makes sense.

      The company became a part of Tesla in 2016 in an effort to bail the company out due to financial woes.

      In any case, Tesla could be liable for fires occurring before and after 2016. They don’t get to erase liability just because the panels were installed before they purchased the company, especially if they were still servicing them.

      • TheBelltower

        I understand that there is still liability there for Tesla, and Tesla acquired the company after the installation of the panels. When you purchase a company, you purchase all the risk too. It’s just inaccurate reporting. Solar City in its original incarnation during the period listed above, is gone. It’s a nuanced difference, but it’s an important thing to note so that everything makes sense.

  • Alduin

    Walmart should’ve known by now that anything Tesla makes spontaneously bursts into flames!

  • Six_Tymes


  • Paul

    Tesla again. Walmart trying to appease the greenies gets caught up by the continual Tesla issues.

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