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Whoa, 7 rooftop solar panel fires and counting.

Walmart's lawsuit is more than 100 pages long, with pages of detailed explanations of Tesla's alleged installation problems. Under its contract with Walmart, Tesla is supposed to do regular maintenance on the solar panels. But Walmart says Tesla failed to properly hire, train, and supervise the contractors doing installation and maintenance work for Tesla.Among the problems Walmart claims to have identified:

  • "Many of the Tesla solar panels inspected by Walmart were suffering from hotspots, resulting in cracking of the back sheets on solar modules and compromising electrical insulation."
  • "Making matters worse, Tesla had flagged or identified hotspots by placing pieces of tape over the affected areas. Because this tape prevented sunlight from reaching the solar panel, it exacerbated the problem by further concentrating heat."
  • "Tesla teams consistently failed to torque (or tighten) field-made connectors." "The lack of torqueing [sic] leads to moisture and water intrusion."
  • "Sharp points—from, among other items, rough concrete or metal edges—were cutting into or abrading wires. In other cases, temperature changes resulted in the expansion and contraction of wires over time, moving the wires and resulting in their abrasion or exposure.
  • Multiple sites had improper grounding.
Walmart says it spent months trying to work with Tesla to fix the problems but found Tesla's responses unsatisfactory. So it's now suing Tesla—seeking not only damages but also approval to remove Tesla's solar panels from its stores.
https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy...es-walmart-sues-tesla-over-solar-panel-flaws/

Sounds like German car rental companies are not the only ones having trouble with Tesla addressing quality issues.
 

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Yeah I saw this news piece too. Walmart vs Tesla, I wonder who has deeper pockets here to fight in courts?

Why on Earth Tesla even bothered to buy failing SolarCity? Because Elon was chairman and his cousins were among SC's stockholders?
 

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I never realized that fire was a risk with solar panels. This is not going to be good news for the solar panel industry in general.
 

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I never realized that fire was a risk with solar panels. This is not going to be good news for the solar panel industry in general.
It is not much of a risk at all if they are installed properly.
 

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So instead of supporting an American company motivating various industries and pushing them forward ... it is fun for you guys to mock them. Underlying reason is because they compete against the GM? Check your motivations and hearts and minds.

How hard is it to make a successful auto company when 100s have failed.
How hard is it to make a successful solar company when 100s have failed.
How hard is it to make a successful battery storage company when 100s have failed.

Wow ... hard to believe the anti-stance here when they have done so much to move the needle.

Are the Walton's trying to make the world a better place? Certainly you know how they drive down prices and who benefits.
 

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My question would be is there a defect in the panels or is it just how they were installed. IE: poor/ improper wiring work.

I’ve never heard of a solar panels causing fires before. Might have something to do with the DC to AC transformers though.
 

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Sounds like German car rental companies are not the only ones having trouble with Tesla addressing quality issues.
Nice jab but how many other Tesla owners are overwhelmingly pleased with their cars overall.

Small data points don't statistically represent the overall facts. Would they sell in these numbers if people were not satisfied with the quality. And this is USA numbers. A whole lot of sales are taking place in many parts of the world. South Korea being one of the latest (where ~54% of the Bolt content is from so they have loyalty to it. We'll see how sales compare).

 

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Nice jab but how many other Tesla owners are overwhelmingly pleased with their cars overall.

Small data points don't statistically represent the overall facts. Would they sell in these numbers if people were not satisfied with the quality. And this is USA numbers. A whole lot of sales are taking place in many parts of the world. South Korea being one of the latest (where >50% of the Bolt content is from so they have loyalty to it. We'll see how sales compare).

Agreed, and we don’t truly know all the facts surrounding the special customer requirements of the deal either. Like the add-on call button that had been mentioned.
 

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Sounds like there's a quality issue with the panels themselves. This is a direct Tesla problem. The other problems appear to stem from improper installation, which could impact any solar installation. The reason Tesla is being sued for the latter is that the contract is between Walmart and Tesla. Walmart could go after the actual installers, but this is far more difficult and most contracts for this type of work indemnify subcontractors except in the case of willful negligence. Shoddy workmanship is very difficult to prove as the result of willful negligence.
 

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I seem to recall the the panels are manufactured by a sub-contractor within Gigafactory 2. Just like Panasonic makes the Batteries for the Model 3 pack within Gigafactory 1.
 

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So instead of supporting an American company motivating various industries and pushing them forward ... it is fun for you guys to mock them. Underlying reason is because they compete against the GM? Check your motivations and hearts and minds.

How hard is it to make a successful auto company when 100s have failed.
How hard is it to make a successful solar company when 100s have failed.
How hard is it to make a successful battery storage company when 100s have failed.

Wow ... hard to believe the anti-stance here when they have done so much to move the needle.
When you tout yourself as making cutting edge product and saying when others can make a car as good or better they will be making PDG cars (Elon's quote on 60 Minutes), it comes with the territory. That being said, making cars is hard (remember the Hyundai Pony and Gen I Elantra and a couple of generations later they were at the top of the quality charts but not without some stumbles) and when you take the jump into higher production numbers like from the S & X to the M3, it's harder still. The solar panel fires are a surprise as I never heard of that before but sounds like it's not nailed down yet (no pun intended), production or installation?
 

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It's going to be installer error.
Industrial panels aren't that close to the roof, nor is the roofing material very flammable.
A defective panel will rarely ignite, they are soldered, and a single broken connection shut all it's production down.
The panels are to be crimped together for grounding, and the ground strap crimped from the array to the earth ground with a solid connection in case of lightning.
 

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It's going to be installer error.
Industrial panels aren't that close to the roof, nor is the roofing material very flammable.
A defective panel will rarely ignite, they are soldered, and a single broken connection shut all it's production down.
The panels are to be crimped together for grounding, and the ground strap crimped from the array to the earth ground with a solid connection in case of lightning.
Agree - and it seems (I could be wrong) the installs were pre-Tesla.

If I could fault Elon for one Big Thing, it would be bailing out Solar City. I didn't think it was a great idea at the time, and I don't think they've improved it that much since then. If it were me, I'd sell off or shut down the Solar City piece. Not enough value add and a huge distraction from their core businesses. Let the Rochester factory continue to build the Superchargers. Maybe even the upcoming Semis.
 

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So instead of supporting an American company motivating various industries and pushing them forward ... it is fun for you guys to mock them. Underlying reason is because they compete against the GM?
Reporting issues with Tesla's solar panel business is not mocking them. No one mentioned GM or that GM is better, etc. But we can always count on a "but whattabout GM?" whenever Tesla has a stumble. My issue has always been with Tesla Musk, not Tesla the car. Musk has had many great ideas, but he also has some dumb ones. Sometimes the emperor has no clothes.

Nice jab but how many other Tesla owners are overwhelmingly pleased with their cars overall.

Small data points don't statistically represent the overall facts.
A big Tesla supporter who has ordered over a 100 cars should not be dismissed so quickly when they point out the quality issues they are finding, nor should they be compared to an individual buyer in the US where apparently the Model 3 quality is better than it is for the export market. That seems to be their conclusion anyway. The car they bought in the US is fine while the cars being exported to them by Tesla in Germany suffer from a variety of issues and then ensuing "Service Hell".

The company seems pretty reasonable to me given what they have gone through. For those who want to make their own judgment see https://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?330667-Model-3-paint-job-not-for-ordinary-road-use
 

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Reporting issues with Tesla's solar panel business is not mocking them. No one mentioned GM or that GM is better, etc. But we can always count on a "but whattabout GM?" whenever Tesla has a stumble. My issue has always been with Tesla Musk, not Tesla the car. Musk has had many great ideas, but he also has some dumb ones. Sometimes the emperor has no clothes.
"reporting" their solar business on a car forum for your entertainment tho? Then a jab about a statistical minor number of cars compared to the whole global number Tesla cars out there in the same post? Marinate on your motivations.
 

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A big Tesla supporter who has ordered over a 100 cars should not be dismissed so quickly when they point out the quality issues they are finding, nor should they be compared to an individual buyer in the US where apparently the Model 3 quality is better than it is for the export market. That seems to be their conclusion anyway. The car they bought in the US is fine while the cars being exported to them by Tesla in Germany suffer from a variety of issues and then ensuing "Service Hell".
I've wondered about this. Look at all the complaints in the Scandinavian countries about the M3's paint. You don't see complaints in the US.
 

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"reporting" their solar business on a car forum for your entertainment tho? Then a jab about a statistical minor number of cars compared to the whole global number Tesla cars out there in the same post? Marinate on your motivations.
I personally don't have any problem with news like this being reported. Anything that can impact Tesla's bottom line is relevant and fair game.

Also not sure I understand the hate towards Walmart. They are well within their legal right to sue Tesla if it is their only recourse for a resolution.
 

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Just another reason I do everything I can to avoid Walmart. The other two big reasons are Walmart has had a habit of coming into small towns and effectively destroying local businesses and that almost everything in their stores is manufactured in China or other low labor cost countries, effectively aiding the destruction of US manufacturing.
 
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