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WALMART INC.

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Walmart : Sues Tesla Over Solar Cells That Allegedly Sparked Fires -- Update

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08/20/2019 | 06:05pm EDT

By Patrick Thomas

Walmart Inc. is suing Tesla Inc., alleging that some of the company's solar panels sparked roof fires at several of the retailer's locations, adding to the problems the electric-car maker has had with its venture to power homes and stores.

In a suit filed in New York state court on Tuesday, Walmart said that as of last November, Tesla's solar panels were responsible for at least seven fires. The retailer is demanding Tesla remove the roof-mounted panels from more than 240 Walmart locations and cover the costs.

Walmart, the world's largest retailer, alleges the fires destroyed significant amounts of store merchandise and that buildings required substantial repairs, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Tesla didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some of the problems with the panels stemmed from a "rushed" approach to the system's installation, Walmart said in its filing, and that individuals sent by Tesla to inspect the panels lacked basic solar training and knowledge.

"Walmart's inspectors observed negligent and dangerous wire connection practices, which were readily apparent at many of the sites visited and are a critical risk factor in contributing to fires," the retailer alleges in its suit.

Walmart said it began using solar panels made by SolarCity, which Tesla acquired in 2016, in 2010.

Walmart had no comment beyond the suit. Tesla didn't immediately respond to request for comment. Shares of Tesla were off about 1.4% during aftermarket trading.

After acquiring SolarCity, Tesla began selling and leasing solar panels in Tesla showrooms, with the leases extending 10 to 20 years.

Later, Tesla began promoting sales as opposed to leases. Once the top U.S. residential solar installer, Tesla ranked No. 3 in the first quarter, with a 6.3% share, according to Wood Mackenzie, a firm that tracks renewable-energy projects.

The company this week said it was offering to rent solar panels to homeowners in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Mexico.

Last month, Tesla told analysts on an earnings call it was optimistic for its future in solar, saying its "energy products business will grow."

Write to Patrick Thomas at Patrick.Thomas@wsj.com

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
TESLA INC. 1.28% 246.6 Delayed Quote.-26.84%
WALMART INC. -0.04% 117.11 Delayed Quote.25.78%
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2020 522 B
EBIT 2020 21 815 M
Net income 2020 14 508 M
Debt 2020 56 499 M
Yield 2020 1,83%
P/E ratio 2020 23,1x
P/E ratio 2021 22,9x
EV / Sales2020 0,75x
EV / Sales2021 0,72x
Capitalization 333 B
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Technical analysis trends WALMART INC.
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
TrendsBullishBullishBullish
Income Statement Evolution
Consensus
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Buy
Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 35
Average target price 119,13  $
Last Close Price 117,11  $
Spread / Highest target 15,3%
Spread / Average Target 1,72%
Spread / Lowest Target -13,8%
EPS Revisions
Managers
NameTitle
C. Douglas McMillon President, Chief Executive Officer & Director
Gregory B. Penner Non-Executive Chairman
Brett M. Biggs Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President
Jeremy King Chief Technology Officer & Executive VP
Clay Johnson Enterprise Chief Information Officer & EVP
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