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story.lead_photo.caption This June 25, 2019, file photo shows the entrance to a Walmart in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Walmart Inc. on Tuesday sued Tesla Inc.'s energy operations, claiming the company's rooftop solar panels started fires at seven Walmart stores.

The complaint, filed in New York state court, alleges breach of contract, systemic negligence and failure to follow industry practices in installing, operating and maintaining its solar-power systems. The Bentonville retailer is asking in the suit that Tesla remove the solar panels it installed on more than 240 of its stores and pay for damages related to the fires.

Walmart said in the court document that many of the problems "stemmed from a rushed, negligent approach to the systems' installations." Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said Tuesday the company had no comment beyond what is stated in the complaint.

Tesla's energy division was previously known as SolarCity and founded by relatives of Tesla founder and Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk. Tesla bought SolarCity in 2016.

Walmart's relationship with the company better known for its electric vehicles includes orders for 45 of Tesla's all-electric tractor-trailers. Walmart ordered 15 of the big rigs in 2017, with five intended for its fleet in the U.S. and 10 in Canada. Walmart Canada ordered 30 more trucks last September.

The case is Walmart Inc. v. Tesla Energy Operations Inc.

Business on 08/21/2019

Print Headline: Walmart sues Tesla over solar panels

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