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Walmart reaches settlement with Tesla over solar panel fires, drops lawsuit

Kirsten Korosec
Photo courtesy of Flickr/Walmart

Walmart has dropped a lawsuit that accused Tesla of breach of contract and gross negligence after rooftop solar panel systems on seven of the retailer’s stores allegedly caught fire.

A settlement has been reached and stipulation of dismissal has been filed with the court, a Walmart spokesperson said in an email. It is unclear what the settlement entails. TechCrunch has requested more information and will update the article if new details emerge.

The two companies issued a joint release Tuesday announcing that the issues raised by Walmart have been resolved.

"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 emailed statement reads.

The resolution comes just three months after Walmart filed the lawsuit in New York state court. The lawsuit was aimed at Tesla Energy Operations, a division within the clean energy and electric vehicle automaker that was formerly known as SolarCity.

Days after the lawsuit was filed, the two companies announced efforts were underway to try to reach an agreement that would keep the solar installations in place and put them back in service, according to a joint statement issued at the time.

While the announcement signaled progress, the specter of a lawsuit still loomed. Until now.

Walmart said it sued Tesla after years of gross negligence and failure to live up to industry standards by Tesla, according to court documents. Walmart asked Tesla to remove solar panels from all 240 locations where they have been installed, as well as pay for damages related to fires that the retailer alleges stem from the panels. The lawsuit points to several fires on the retailer’s rooftops that allegedly stem from Tesla solar panels.