Tesla solar panels also caught fire on an Amazon warehouse, the retail giant said in the wake of Walmart's lawsuit (TSLA, AMZN, WMT)


Amazon warehouse

  • Amazon also experienced a fire stemming from Tesla solar panels in 2018, Bloomberg and CNBC reported Friday. 
  • The retail giant said it has no plans to install any further solar systems after the incident, which Tesla says was isolated.
  • Last week, Walmart filed a lawsuit against Tesla alleging that fires at seven stores were related to the systems, which have been installed on more than 200 roofs nationwide. 
  • 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.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon says Tesla solar panels on the roof of one of its warehouses sparked a fire in 2018, adding to the scrutiny of the company’s green energy unit following Walmart’s damning suit filed last week.

The e-commerce giant told Bloomberg in an emailed statement Friday that an energy system at its Redlands, California warehouse, west of Los Angeles, in June 2018. Amazon has since decided to purchase no more solar systems from Tesla, CNBC reported.

Solar panels Amazon warehouse roofTesla and Amazon did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

“All 11 Amazon sites with solar from Tesla are generating energy and are proactively monitored and maintained,” Tesla told CNBC. “Last year, there was an isolated event that occurred in an inverter at one of the Amazon sites. Tesla worked collaboratively with Amazon to root cause the event and remediate.”

Last week, Walmart slammed Tesla with a lawsuit claiming the company’s solar panels were responsible for fires at seven stores, forcing the retailer to de-energize all 240 locations where panels had been installed.

“To this day, Tesla has not provided Walmart with the complete set of final “root cause” analyses needed to identify the precise defects in its systems that caused all of the fires,” Walmart said in its complaint.

“The number of defects, however, is overwhelming and plainly indicative of systemic, widespread failures by Tesla to meet the standard of care, as set forth in the governing contracts, as to the solar systems installed at Walmart’s stores.”

Read more: Last year, Tesla initiated ‘Project Titan’ — a stealth nationwide program to replace solar-panel parts that could cause fires

Tesla has not yet responded to the lawsuit, which it is required to do within 20 days of Friday’s summons. In a joint statement last week, Tesla and Walmart hinted that they may try to come to an agreement outside of the court.

“Walmart and Tesla look forward to addressing all issues and re-energizing Tesla solar installations at Walmart stores, once all parties are certain that all concerns have been addressed,” the statement said.

Last summer, Tesla began attempting to identify and replace defective solar panel parts through a program known internally as “Project Titan,” according to documents seen by Business Insider.

The program primarily focused on connectors made by Amphenol and optimizers, which regulate the amount of energy and heat that flows to a solar panel. If a solar panel gets too hot, it can set on fire. These parts were quarantined as part of the program, a former employee said.

“Over the past year, less than 1% of sites with this connector have exhibited any abnormal behavior,” a Tesla representative said about the program, which had not been previously reported.

“Tesla honors our commitments to our customers, who expect their solar installations to reliably generate clean, low-cost energy for their contract term of 10-20 years. This campaign to replace any faulty connectors at these sites is Tesla fulfilling that commitment.”

Are you a current or former employee of Tesla, Walmart or Amazon? We want to hear from you. Get in touch with this reporter at grapier@businessinsider.com Secure contact methods, including Signal, can be found here. Do not use a work phone or computer.

SEE ALSO: Here’s everything we know about ‘Project Titan’ — Tesla’s covert program to replace solar-panel parts that could cause fires

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