Tesla Facing SEC Investigation After Whistleblower Complaints on Solar Panels

Photo: Tesla (via @JayinShanghai)

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has had its run-ins with Tesla CEO Elon Musk before, but now a new report shows that the regulatory agency is officially probing the automaker over its solar division.

The SEC has opened a formal investigation into Tesla, after a whistleblower reported that the company did not adequately disclose fire risk potential with its solar panels to its shareholders or the public, according to a letter obtained by Reuters.

The SEC’s public disclosure of the details came in response to a request from former Tesla Field Quality Manager Steven Henkes under the Freedom of Information Act.

Henkes had filed a whistleblower complaint with the SEC in 2019, and more recently he reached out to the regulatory agency for more information about the status of the report.

The SEC responded to Henkes in a September 24 letter writing, “We have confirmed with Division of Enforcement staff that the investigation from which you seek records is still active and ongoing,” ultimately denying Henkes’s request for the information.

In July, one of Tesla’s Megapack systems, often called Australia’s Big Battery, caught fire in Victoria, though the battery was still taking part in trials and testing of the system.