Amazon Joins Walmart in Blaming Tesla for Solar Panel Roof Fire
Tesla’s solar subsidiary, SolarCity, is taking more heat now that Amazon is joining Walmart in claiming the company’s solar panels caused a rooftop fire.
In a statement provided to Bloomberg on Aug. 23, the Seattle-based Amazon released details about an incident that took place in June 2018. Per Bloomberg, a solar system installed by SolarCity on one of Amazon’s warehouses in Redlands, Calif. caught fire.
In the statement, Amazon said it is taking steps to protect its other facilities and has no plans to install any other Tesla solar systems. A Tesla representative told Gizmodo that the fire was “an isolated event.”
The news is ill-timed for Tesla. On Aug. 20 — three days before Amazon's announcement — Walmart filed a lawsuit against the electric car maker, claiming its solar panels were the cause of fires at seven different locations dating back to 2012. The lawsuit is asking for Tesla to remove solar panels from all of its store locations and pay damages related to the fires.
"The evidence uncovered by Walmart revealed that the solar panels had been installed rapidly and that basic quality-control checks had not been undertaken," the lawsuit said.
On the evening of Aug. 22, Tesla and Walmart issued a joint statement regarding the lawsuit. In it, the companies indicated they will begin "re-energizing Tesla solar installations at Walmart stores once all parties are certain that all concerns have been addressed.”
The statement goes on to say that the companies are looking forward to pursuing a shared goal of a sustainable energy future.
In its lawsuit, Walmart claimed it leased or licensed roof space at more than 240 stores to Tesla. The most recent fire took place in 2018.
As previously reported, Tesla’s solar energy program has not performed well since it acquired SolarCity in 2016 for $2.6 billion. In July, Tesla reported only 29 megawatts had been installed in the second quarter.