The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is looking into how Tesla managed and maybe failed to properly disclose previously documented fire hazards with its solar power systems to investors. Walmart sued in 2019 over fires caused by solar power systems installed in its stores. The complaint revealed that a problem with a specific item caused the fire. The dispute between and Walmart was eventually resolved, but it became evident that the issue was not confined to solar power installations installed at Walmart.
CEO Elon Musk revealed during his deposition for the lawsuit over the SolarCity acquisition that has been having some troubles with some old SolarCity solar installations. Tesla has a programme called Project Titan that evaluates all solar installations to see if a part from a supplier with a possible flaw needs to be replaced.
Now, Steven Henkes, a former Tesla field quality manager, has filed a whistleblower complaint about the matter, and the SEC is investigating, according to a freedom of information act request. According to Henkes, the problem affects 60,000 solar customers in their homes and roughly 500 commercial and government clients. When he first learned of the problem, the former employee instructed management to shut down the impacted system and notify customers and authorities, but Tesla adopted a different route, according to the former employee.
He claims that instead of informing customers about the fire risk, told them that they were only performing maintenance. Henkes claims he was dismissed in 2020 as a result of raising the matter, and he feels it was in retaliation. He has filed a lawsuit against Tesla for his dismissal.