back to article The SEC is investigating whistleblower claims that Tesla was reckless as its solar panels go up in smoke

The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into whether Tesla failed to tell investors and customers about the fire risks of its faulty solar panels. Whistleblower and ex-employee, Steven Henkes, accused the company of flouting safety issues in a complaint with the SEC in 2019. He filed a freedom of …

  1. swm Silver badge

    Don't they fuse the panels?

    1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      What panels really need is reverse polarity diodes protecting groups of cells in long series runs. The weakest cells will be driven to reverse polarity by the strongest cells without those diodes. I tried driving a cracked solar cell with reverse polarity and it hit about 40V at 6A for a total of 240W.

      One of many installation issues is that Tesla installers used thermal cameras to find hot cells in panels and then marked them with tape to indicate a need for replacement. They were never replaced. Now those slightly defective cells are completely defective because they have tape blocking their light. The rest is unknown but I imagine solder or insulation cooked off hot cells until it arced. A 500VDC @ 6A has a really hot, robust arc.

      It's all a mess. Cells shouldn't be failing unless the panels were abused or untested. Panels should have built-in protection diodes around groups of cells to prevent high reverse voltages. The controller should alert if there's a ground fault. Permit inspectors were paid to have noticed these things.

      My own solar installation experience (not Tesla) is that messes are very likely. Outsourced construction work is no better than outsourced software work.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They did eliminate their PR department. So I guess the onus falls on Elon not sending tweets out about it.

  3. sabroni Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Walmart later dropped its claims, and settled the matter privately.

    Best justice money can buy!

  4. ecofeco Silver badge

    Was the actual panels?

    Was it the panels or perhaps the installers?

    You see, in America, company A contracts to company B who contracts to company C who finds individual contractors for the lowest bid who tend to have very shaky "credentials" if any at all. Who in turn, might also contract out to day labor who have no experience.

    Or it could be the panels as well under the same scenario.

    You see why I have to ask.

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