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Tesla reaches settlement with Walmart to bring solar panel suit to an end

Walmart announced that it had dropped its lawsuit against Tesla over malfunctioning solar panels manufactured by the company that resulted in fires. 

The lawsuit that was filed in August was “voluntarily discontinued without prejudice” on Monday, November 4, according to court documents. A Walmart spokesperson said that a settlement has been reached and stipulation of dismissal has been filed with the court. 

“Walmart and Tesla are pleased to have resolved the issues raised by Walmart concerning the Tesla solar installations at Walmart stores,” spokespeople from both Walmart and Tesla told Digital Trends. “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.”

According to Business Insider, Walmart plans to re-energize more than 240 stores that house Tesla Energy Operations solar panel systems. 

The original complaint filed by Walmart on August 20 alleged that Tesla’s solar panels caused the fires of seven stores as the result of “widespread negligence” regarding the design, installation, and maintenance of the solar panels. Walmart said that the damages cost about $65,000, which Tesla agreed to pay a portion of. 

Walmart claims that many of the original issues “stemmed from a rushed, negligent approach to the systems’ installation” carried out from 2010 by SolarCity, the solar panel company founded by the two cousins of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, which Tesla acquired in 2016 for $2.6 billion.

Days after Walmart’s lawsuit, Bloomberg reported that Amazon claimed that Tesla panels used for its fulfillment centers caught on fire in June 2018. Amazon did not file a lawsuit against Tesla but reportedly decided not to use Tesla’s solar panels for any more of its facilities

Tesla recently announced the ability for homeowners in six states to rent solar panels through its solar subscription program. Rentals include the panels, as well as any other necessary hardware, installation, support, and maintenance costs. It’s unclear if the solar subscription’s residence panels are the same panels that Walmart or Amazon used.

Tesla’s solar panel equipment page says that “When selecting equipment manufacturers, we pick top-tier providers which meet our aesthetic, performance, reliability and value standards. All equipment is backed by comprehensive warranties from the manufacturers and Tesla.”

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