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article imageWalmart drops suit against Tesla's Solar City over solar panels

By Ken Hanly     Nov 5, 2019 in Business
Walmart has agreed to drop a lawsuit against Tesla filed because of a rash of solar panel fires installed by SolarCIty a subsidiary of Tesla. The suit is dropped in a new filing with the New York State Supreme Court.
Suit claimed years of gross negligence by Tesla
The negligence was claimed to have caused fires on the roofs of at least seven Walmart stores causing millions of dollars worth of damage and resulting in Walmart deactivating the panels.
Walmart's lawyers accused SolarCIty of adopting "an ill-considered business model that required it to install solar panel systems haphazardly and as quickly as possible in order to turn a profit". They also argued that SolarCIty relied on contractors and subcontractors who were not properly trained and supervised.
Project TItan
Business Insider discovered that Tesla quietly initiated Project Titan to repair the problems with the solar panels. An article by the Business Insider describes the program: "Last summer, Tesla initiated "Project Titan," an attempt to quietly replace defective solar-panel parts across the US, according to documents viewed by Business Insider. Specifically, Tesla was replacing connectors and optimizers, parts that are meant to regulate the amount of energy flowing to a solar panel. Too much energy can cause a fire."
Lawsuit is withdrawn
The settlement appears to have been in the works for a while. Back in August Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove said that the companies were working toward a resolution. Also, Tesla Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Elon Musk said that he had spoken to the Walmart CEO shortly after the suit was filed and that the two had reached a resolution of issues He claimed that the suit would be withdrawn.
In a joint statement the two companies said: “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.”
The two companies have avoided what could have been a long and costly battle in the courts.
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