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camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
2,087
Vernon, BC, Canada
Do solar installation employees open the inverter to install fuses or is that something Fronius would've done? When they installed my inverters, I don't remember them opening them up. I'll have to check the footage...

Though the actual contract is mostly redacted, it is heavily implied that SolarCity/Tesla was/is responsible for all maintenance. It's not impossible that if a fuse were blown, Tesla employees/contractors would be the ones replacing it.

Additionally, the fuses for Fronius inverters seem to be in the same area that installers need access to for wiring, so they very likely had it open unless they came pre-terminated with connectors or something. *shrug*

If this were a widespread problem, you think we'd have heard about it from some of the other hundreds of solar installs Solar City performed.

I gathered from another article that solar-panel-related fires definitely do occur, they're just not a major portion of root causes. Tesla points out in one of their rebuttals in this lawsuit essentially "look, Walmart, you're familiar with fires, look how many non-solar fires you've had recently!". Keep in mind for the initial news articles regarding the Walmart fires, Tesla nor SolarCity were named -- just "fires" starting at the "solar panels" with no mention of installer nor manufacturer. In fact, a comment on one of the articles assumed "cheap Chinese panels" were purchased and installed by Walmart so they had it coming. Awkward.
 
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camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
2,087
Vernon, BC, Canada
After reviewing (skimming large sections, reading others more intently) many of the documents, both companies are in a hard spot.

There is a concerning lack of quality in the installations, with nearly all inspected sites Tesla even claiming to be installed dangerously in terms of wiring (w.r.t. wire abrasion, sharp object contact with wires, not accounting for thermal expansion, conduit improperly spec'd for contained wires, grounding issues). Walmart wants out because there's obviously issues, and the recent fire after the solar system was disconnected concretely shows that simply not using the system does not render it safe. Tesla wants to make things right, but on their terms and without being blamed for any supposed wrongdoing.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

NinjaVece

Member
Aug 22, 2018
208
173
Santa Clarita, CA
After reviewing (skimming large sections, reading others more intently) many of the documents, both companies are in a hard spot.

There is a concerning lack of quality in the installations, with nearly all inspected sites Tesla even claiming to be installed dangerously in terms of wiring (w.r.t. wire abrasion, sharp object contact with wires, not accounting for thermal expansion, conduit improperly spec'd for contained wires, grounding issues). Walmart wants out because there's obviously issues, and the recent fire after the solar system was disconnected concretely shows that simply not using the system does not render it safe. Tesla wants to make things right, but on their terms and without being blamed for any supposed wrongdoing.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

After reading all the letters back and forth between Tesla and Walmart, I've come to just the opposite conclusion. Not only is Tesla on the right side of the law AND was willing to make concessions, but they had worked with Walmart as to a maintenance program that both would follow up with to ensure good service from the panels. Tesla maintains that 4 installations had issues while Walmart argues 7. I believe Tesla here as they have the actual facts on their side.

What Walmart, at some level, was embarking on was a play to get contractual concessions from Tesla by arguing that some installations had problems. However, the contracts were ALL separate and one contract had nothing to do with the others. Walmart was attempting to rick-roll Tesla into altering ALL the 240+ contracts to a lower price point and additional services due to 4 instances where there was an issue.

So, one part of Walmart played nice with Tesla (good cop) and worked out a maintenance set up to deal with all the contracts while another side (bad cop) threatened to take Tesla to court unless they got something more. This is quite evident in the letters back and forth and shows that Walmart is simply playing this for a contractual advantage. They certainly don't have the law on their side - they WILL lose in court - but they are figuring that bad press will force Tesla into making a monetary concession to them they can never hope to win at trial.
 

daniel

Active Member
May 7, 2009
4,800
3,612
Kihei, HI
Walmart is evil. They abuse their employees and pay them so little they qualify for food stamps, and they force suppliers to sell so low they have to abuse their employees.

But based on some of the comments above from people who had bad experiences with Solar City, I feel lucky: I would absolutely have used Tesla for my installation, but they don't operate here on Maui, so I used a local installer who was recommended by my realtor. The realtor did such great work for me that I trust her completely. The guy she recommended did great work, and when I did have an issue he came right over and took care of it.

I'm predisposed to favor Solar City because of my respect for Elon Musk. I own a good-size chunk of solar bonds from Solar City (now Tesla).
 

vickh

Active Member
Dec 16, 2018
3,097
480
az
Walmart is evil. They abuse their employees and pay them so little they qualify for food stamps, and they force suppliers to sell so low they have to abuse their employees.

But based on some of the comments above from people who had bad experiences with Solar City, I feel lucky: I would absolutely have used Tesla for my installation, but they don't operate here on Maui, so I used a local installer who was recommended by my realtor. The realtor did such great work for me that I trust her completely. The guy she recommended did great work, and when I did have an issue he came right over and took care of it.

I'm predisposed to favor Solar City because of my respect for Elon Musk. I own a good-size chunk of solar bonds from Solar City (now Tesla).

how much do the bonds pay? hope a lot for the BK risk..

I will use them, for $50 mo it's worth the risk and I hope those bonds cover roof damage etc if things do go wrong ;)
 

Ulmo

Active Member
Jan 19, 2016
4,325
4,427
Vienna Woods, Aptos, California
Every DIY solar installing geek I've read has a FLIR camera to monitor their solar panels. Witness wk057's solar setup with his FLIR images of it running. We've seen many FLIR images of solar panels as they operate from many others. If it is true that Tesla does not equip their solar techs with FLIR for diagnostics, then that is a gross oversight of Tesla. I don't know how they can mess up their relationship with Walmart so much. That is gross negligence in business and technical maintenance. However, I bet some lawyers know that and so said things like that to make it sound bad, but the question remains: who is right? Does Tesla routinely send its techs out without FLIR training and equipment?
..... I don't see how that's even possible... the breaker should have tripped; Do you know what happened?
It could be a noisy line, which wouldn't necessarily trip a breaker but could fry other devices; we know noise can fry computers, for instance. Also, some motors might exhibit failure modes due to bad energy with strange frequencies, voltages, etc. that aren't enough to trip a breaker.
Wow. This is going to trash Tesla’s brand name for solar, and maybe spill over into cars too. Heck, even SpaceX will feel this.
I think it is more of a spreading of the existing reputation it already had; more people will be aware of that already existent reputation. It might affect less than you think in the solar realm, but you are probably right that it will dissuade people from buying their cars.
1. Solar City installed solar panels manufactured by a third party
2. Fires occurred on 7 of 240 installs
3. Wiring appears to have been the cause, for which Tesla already paid Walmart some sort of financial compensation. The lawsuit has occurred because instead of compensation, Walmart wants all 240 installations removed.

All we really know at this point is Walmart's side of the story, which at this point I'm taking with a grain of salt considering the lobbying the Walton's have engaged in, along with the timing of this lawsuit. The last fire occurred over 9 months ago, and yet this lawsuit gets filed within days of Tesla's re-launch of their solar website.
I agree that something like Chinese anti-solar politics could have something to do with it, but where there's smoke, there's often fire. Tesla could have gotten out in front of this a long time ago by doing a thorough inspection of the existing installations by competent technicians, and we all know how that is not Tesla's M.O.; they prefer to sweep everything under the rug at great expense and damage to customers and company interests and finances.
this is Tesla though they have an anti establishment problem ( see SEC, NHTSA etc...)
To be fair, I think SEC has a red-hot anti-Tesla problem, and NHTSA & Tesla both have low key anti-each-other problems. Those don't directly relate to this general solar installation quality issue.
WOW I read the complaint and honestly I can see Walmart's point of view. Sounds like Tesla ignored basic things on the install, has ignored requests for info and basic maintenance and repair ETC. I feel at this point Walmart is also drawing a line in the sand and giving notice that if something epic happens, building burns down, someone is injured severely ETC they will be looking at Tesla as someone responsible. Ontop of the Fix the system that was installed.
Aha, I'mJustDave seems to have the most sober logical explanation for what's happening: Walmart is taking the position that they have copiously informed everyone involved of who is at fault in case something else happens. Tesla could still make this right if they can convince a judge of that, but it would take a competent good electrical engineer with a great reputation to pull that off, and since this would take a long time to do all the inspections, that would mean a group of people, so Tesla is screwed if they want to sweep this under the rug too since finding a group of high reputation high quality electrical engineers means Tesla would actually have to put real effort in that so far they've refused to do, according to the lawsuit. Maybe Tesla already did all that, but we haven't seen the response yet.
I got the feeling in the paper work that Tesla owns all the gear and Walmart just rents the roof and access to sell the power back. If not at the very least it appear obvious Tesla is on some sort of maintenance plan and it was all 1 big package, making it a turn key system for Walmart... if you notice Tesla deactivate all the systems not Walmart.
Great catch. That was their business model back then, so that makes sense. They should still have been a good tenant. Basically, this is an eviction notice for causing fires.
Tesla points out in one of their rebuttals in this lawsuit essentially "look, Walmart, you're familiar with fires, look how many non-solar fires you've had recently!".
Ugh! Not the issue! Jeez! That's tantamount to Tesla admitting guilt!
... a comment on one of the articles assumed "cheap Chinese panels" were purchased and installed by Walmart so they had it coming. Awkward.
That could be an issue?
After reviewing (skimming large sections, reading others more intently) many of the documents, both companies are in a hard spot.

There is a concerning lack of quality in the installations, with nearly all inspected sites Tesla even claiming to be installed dangerously in terms of wiring (w.r.t. wire abrasion, sharp object contact with wires, not accounting for thermal expansion, conduit improperly spec'd for contained wires, grounding issues). Walmart wants out because there's obviously issues, and the recent fire after the solar system was disconnected concretely shows that simply not using the system does not render it safe. Tesla wants to make things right, but on their terms and without being blamed for any supposed wrongdoing.
Sound like this could be what's happening. If the culture at Tesla was better, they could and probably would have already fixed this by nature of their culture and attitude. But the we-can-mess-up-anything attitude and culture at Tesla obviously is ruining things. When that attitude is paired up with a behemeth of a cheap-ass company, sparks literally fry. In retrospect, this seems like the only possible outcome if Tesla hadn't righted their culture problems.
After reading all the letters back and forth between Tesla and Walmart, I've come to just the opposite conclusion. Not only is Tesla on the right side of the law AND was willing to make concessions, but they had worked with Walmart as to a maintenance program that both would follow up with to ensure good service from the panels. Tesla maintains that 4 installations had issues while Walmart argues 7. I believe Tesla here as they have the actual facts on their side.

What Walmart, at some level, was embarking on was a play to get contractual concessions from Tesla by arguing that some installations had problems. However, the contracts were ALL separate and one contract had nothing to do with the others. Walmart was attempting to rick-roll Tesla into altering ALL the 240+ contracts to a lower price point and additional services due to 4 instances where there was an issue.

So, one part of Walmart played nice with Tesla (good cop) and worked out a maintenance set up to deal with all the contracts while another side (bad cop) threatened to take Tesla to court unless they got something more. This is quite evident in the letters back and forth and shows that Walmart is simply playing this for a contractual advantage. They certainly don't have the law on their side - they WILL lose in court - but they are figuring that bad press will force Tesla into making a monetary concession to them they can never hope to win at trial.
Really? If so, good catch. But, that doesn't match consumer experiences with Tesla for their cars and solar panels and other products. Also, why would Tesla be negotiating to do better service on installations they should already be warrantied to service properly in the first place?! If what you said is so, then Tesla has an easy way out: just tell the truth publicly and to Walmart and go fix it, but once again, Tesla's crappy culture of sweeping things under the rug and insisting they can do things wrong will be entirely in the way of that outcome. If Tesla tries to pay off Walmart without actually fixing it, that will be a horrendous sign for how Tesla will perform going forward.

Is there really such a thing as installing solar with no warranty for fitness of purpose and safe operation? How could there even be any dispute about negotiating for a better service model after installation?!

At this point, with all the mismanagement and bad will Tesla has created with many of its customers and potential market segments, I don't care what happens to Tesla any more except to treat it fairly, however, I am upset with the bad reputation Tesla is giving to solar energy.

P.S., as this whole thing is bafflingly bad, I would be remiss to not at least mention the possibility of sabotage, however unlikely.
 
Last edited:
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Apr 20, 2017
156
56
Arizona Territory
1. Solar City installed solar panels manufactured by a third party
2. Fires occurred on 7 of 240 installs
3. Wiring appears to have been the cause, for which Tesla already paid Walmart some sort of financial compensation. The lawsuit has occurred because instead of compensation, Walmart wants all 240 installations removed.

All we really know at this point is Walmart's side of the story, which at this point I'm taking with a grain of salt considering the lobbying the Walton's have engaged in, along with the timing of this lawsuit. The last fire occurred over 9 months ago, and yet this lawsuit gets filed within days of Tesla's re-launch of their solar website.
That's ridiculous, DC is a comic and AC is half of a rock band :p

AC is Nikola Tesla and DC is Thomas Edison.
 
Apr 20, 2017
156
56
Arizona Territory
After reading all the letters back and forth between Tesla and Walmart, I've come to just the opposite conclusion. Not only is Tesla on the right side of the law AND was willing to make concessions, but they had worked with Walmart as to a maintenance program that both would follow up with to ensure good service from the panels. Tesla maintains that 4 installations had issues while Walmart argues 7. I believe Tesla here as they have the actual facts on their side.

What Walmart, at some level, was embarking on was a play to get contractual concessions from Tesla by arguing that some installations had problems. However, the contracts were ALL separate and one contract had nothing to do with the others. Walmart was attempting to rick-roll Tesla into altering ALL the 240+ contracts to a lower price point and additional services due to 4 instances where there was an issue.

So, one part of Walmart played nice with Tesla (good cop) and worked out a maintenance set up to deal with all the contracts while another side (bad cop) threatened to take Tesla to court unless they got something more. This is quite evident in the letters back and forth and shows that Walmart is simply playing this for a contractual advantage. They certainly don't have the law on their side - they WILL lose in court - but they are figuring that bad press will force Tesla into making a monetary concession to them they can never hope to win at trial.

What's the word for forcing someone's hand through bad press and legal action, or is that "just business."
 

Ulmo

Active Member
Jan 19, 2016
4,325
4,427
Vienna Woods, Aptos, California
What's the word for forcing someone's hand through bad press and legal action, or is that "just business."
Nothing. Bad press and legal action doesn't force anyone to do something they are not logically nor legally required to do. It's trivial to call out the incorrect aggressor and deflect their attack, hurting the attacker more than the defendant. You're probably too used to wimpy push over execs like every POTUS except Trump, or equivalent push over CEOs. The only execs that would be that weak are non-engineer execs tied into too much, such as globalist execs and many-board directors or chain CEOs that hop company to company who have a lot of secrets they don't want revealed or reputations built on hot air.
 
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Cosmacelf

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2013
8,519
20,439
San Diego
how much do the bonds pay? hope a lot for the BK risk..

I will use them, for $50 mo it's worth the risk and I hope those bonds cover roof damage etc if things do go wrong ;)

There is no BK risk. They are now backed by Tesla and mature later this year.
 

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