Tesla and Walmart Settle Solar Rooftop Fire Lawsuit
Walmart has dropped its lawsuit against Tesla regarding solar rooftop fires on seven of its facilities.
In a court document filed on Monday with the New York State Supreme Court, the retail giant’s complaint has been “voluntarily discontinued without prejudice” against Tesla and its solar panel subsidiary, SolarCity. In a joint statement, Tesla and Walmart said the following:
“Walmart and Tesla are pleased to have resolved the issues raised by Walmart concerning the Tesla solar installations at Walmart stores. Safety is a top priority for each company and with the concerns being addressed, we both look forward to a safe re-energization of our sustainable energy systems.”
Filed in August, Walmart’s lawsuit claimed “years of gross negligence and failure to live up to industry standards” caused solar panels on several of its stores to catch fire between 2012 and 2018. The court documents alleged SolarCity installed the solar panels “haphazardly,” resulting in loose and exposed wiring and “numerous hotspots” that caused the fires.
Walmart was demanding that Tesla remove solar panels from more than 240 locations and pay for damages related to the fires. The suit also suggested Tesla hadn’t properly handled Walmart’s complaints.
Following the lawsuit, Business Insider reported that Tesla had initiated “Project Titan,” a program that would quietly replace defective solar panel parts.
Tesla acquired SolarCity in 2016 for $2.6 billion dollars, which has been considered controversial and is the subject of a lawsuit filed by shareholders claiming the acquisition shouldn’t have happened. The suit claims Tesla CEO Elon Musk knew SolarCity was in a liquidity crisis before he suggested the deal take place.
News of the settlement comes nearly two weeks after Tesla released version three of its solar roof product, known as “Solar Glass Roof.” Tesla revealed it is looking into using third-party roofing contractors to install its solar roofs.