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.”
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.