Elon Musk Criticized Over Tesla Solar Panel Fires at Walmart

Investor David Einhorn calls for Musk’s resignation

Elon Musk
Elon Musk has been criticized after several Tesla solar panels atop Walmarts caught fire.
Daniel Oberhaus/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / August 24, 2019 1:29 pm

When it was first announced, Walmart’s plan to have Tesla solar panels installed on the roofs of many of their stores was hailed as a wise move for both companies. A retailing juggernaut could help take steps towards a sustainable future, while a bold tech company would benefit from the sheet scale of Walmart’s operation. That joint venture has taken a turn for the worst recently, with Walmart filing suit against Tesla due to panels at seven of their stores catching fire.

Now, investor David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital has called for Musk’s resignation.

“If @Tesla wants to save the human species, it should pay more attention to the safety of its own customers,” Einhorn said in a tweet on Friday. “You shouldn’t have to be Walmart to have your dangerous solar panels fixed.”

Greenlight Capital holds a short position in Tesla stock. This is not the first time Einhorn has criticized the company: in a letter to investors in April, he criticized Tesla’s safety record and speculated about whether demand for the Model 3 was being overhyped. 

Tesla has a contentious relationship with its short-sellers: also in April, the company was able to get a restraining order against one short seller who photographed a Model 3 in advance of the company’s official announcement. 

For now, Walmart and Tesla have released a statement indicating that they plan to work together “to addressing all issues and re-energizing Tesla solar installations at Walmart stores, once all parties are certain that all concerns have been addressed.”

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