Tesla settles lawsuit with Walmart over solar panel installations, fires

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Walmart Inc has settled its lawsuit alleging Tesla Inc of negligence in installing solar panels atop hundreds of the retailer’s stores and resulting in at least seven fires.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, both companies stated were “pleased to have resolved the issues raised by Walmart” regarding the installations, and looked forward to “a safe re-energization of our sustainable energy systems.”

Walmart had taken legal action against Tesla for violation of contract on August 20 in a New York state court in Manhattan, seeking to have its solar panels eliminated from over 240 stores.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer stated the fires took place between 2012 and 2018. It voluntarily ended its lawsuit without prejudice, meaning the world’s largest retailer could take legal action again.

The terms of the settlement were not revealed. Walmart and Tesla representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

Tesla acquired the solar business called Tesla Energy Operations in 2016 when it paid $2.6 billion for the former SolarCity Corp.

Walmart had alleged Tesla of “widespread, systematic negligence” and ignoring prudent industry standards by depending on untrained and unsupervised personnel to set up and maintain its panels and prioritizing speed and profit over safety.

Tesla’s solar panel market share has been dropping, urging the Palo Alto, California-based company to slash its sales force.

Earnings from Tesla’s energy generation and storage operations from January to September dropped 7% from a year earlier to $1.1 billion.

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