Tesla is trying to spark its solar-panel business by letting consumers rent rooftop systems rather than buy them.
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A new lawsuit from the USA retail colossus demands damages from Tesla and the removal of solar panels across all store locations, amid claims that "systemic, widespread failures" by Tesla were the culprit of a series of rooftop blazes over the past decade.
Walmart's inspectors found that Tesla "had engaged in widespread, systemic negligence and had failed to abide by prudent industry practices in installing, operating and maintaining its solar systems", according to a breach-of-contract complaint filed Tuesday in NY state court. In the lawsuit, it asks for the court to require Tesla to remove all of its systems from Walmart stores, which are now all de-energized. Musk said the reason for cancelling the Home Depot deal was to "focus our efforts on selling solar power in Tesla stores and online". Walmart has now de-energized all its SolarCity rooftop installations, but one of the fires apparently occurred after being de-energized. As of August 15, Tesla "still had not taken any reasonable steps toward curing its breaches", the lawsuit said.
Electric vehicle maker Tesla bought residential solar installer SolarCity for $2.6 billion in 2016 but installations have plunged in recent quarters.
Tesla's stock dropped more than 1 percent after hours.
Three days later, on August 18, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk announced the re-launch of the company's solar business that allows customers to install solar panels without a long-term contract.