Many people theorized that the
bail out "buy out" of Solar City, advocated for and led by Elon Musk, would eventually come back to bite Tesla. And now it looks as though we may be witnessing this first hand, not only in the collapse of Tesla's solar business, but now in repeated allegations from a second multi-hundred billion dollar retailer claiming that Tesla’s solar panels ignited on their own.
Tesla solar energy systems reportedly went up in flames at an Amazon warehouse in Redlands, California last June and now Amazon has stated that it has no further plans to buy solar energy systems from Tesla, according to CNBC.
The news comes after Tuesday, when we reported that Walmart had suit Tesla over solar panels that ignited on their own and caused fires on top of 7 stores in recent years. As of right now, more than 240 Walmart stores have Tesla solar systems installed.
Walmart claimed that Tesla only inspected 29 of more than 240 sites with Tesla solar roofs on them up until the day of the lawsuit. However, on Thursday night, it looks as though Musk may have been doing damage control, as the two companies released a joint statement regarding the lawsuit:
"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."
"Together, we look forward to perusing our mutual goal of a sustainable energy future," the statement continued. "Above all else, both companies want each and every system to operate reliably, efficiently, and safely."
But now Tesla also has Amazon to appease - how many more concessions will they have to make?
And with Amazon joining the ranks of those coming forward about these obviously defective solar panels, it looks to serve as confirmation that there are likely many other defective systems installed nationwide. This is what caused short seller David Einhorn to call for Elon Musk's resignation late in the week last week.
Tesla, as we noted yesterday, has been systematically covering up the problem - disclosing little, if any, details of it to shareholders while working behind the scenes to implement a secret cover-up to fix solar panels known as Project Titan.
"Project Titan" had the purpose of replacing faulty solar panel parts across the United States, according to Business Insider. The parts in question are connectors — Amphenol H4 connectors — and SolarEdge optimizers, two pieces of the panel that are responsible for regulating the flow of energy and heat.
The main job of these parts? Making sure that as much power goes through the panel as possible without overheating, which can then lead to - you guessed it - fire.
Tesla even confirmed that the cover up was taking place. A company spokesperson said: "A portion of SolarCity-installed modules and optimizers from various manufacturers were made with H4 connectors from Amphenol, a part that was commonly used across the industry at the time."
As a reminder, Tesla is still in the middle of stockholder litigation over the acquisition of Solar City for $2.6 billion in 2016. These types of issues will likely serve to bolster the strength of that lawsuit.
Analyst Gordon Johnson from Vertical Group said:
“With Boeing, two 737 Max jets went down. Outside of those? There were probably thousands of 737 Max jet flights that took off and landed safely, but the fear of that potential caused Boeing to have to ground all of their jets. In my opinion, these solar rooftop fires create a potentially significant headwind for Tesla, and potentially serious legal liabilities.”
He estimates that liabilities could amount to between $250 million and $1 billion as a result of the entire debacle. Additionally, there will likely be an onslaught of new litigation involving Solar City that will join the now 700+ outstanding lawsuits Tesla is currently litigating.