U.S. authorities are investigating Tesla over allegations of failure to disclose fire risks with its solar panels, according to reports.

Complaints from whistleblowers, prompted the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate. Steven Henkes, a former field quality manager for Tesla, claims the company failed to properly inform shareholders and the public about risks.

Tesla’s solar systems have been known to burn out in a small number of cases.

Mr. Henkes’ complaint that is filed more than a year ago, alleges Tesla failed to properly disclose defects with some electrical connectors could cause a fire and instead told customers it needed to carry out maintenance to avoid problems shutting down solar panel systems.

“We have confirmed with Enforcement Division staff that the investigation from which you are looking for records is still active and ongoing,” the SEC told Mr. Henkes, in a letter that the Reuters news agency said it had independently confirmed.

The SEC clarified in its letter that an investigation could not be taken because of confirmation there was any violation of the law. Mr. Henkes was fired from Tesla and sued the company over his dismissal.

Shares in the company fell more than 6% shortly after the news of the SEC investigation was published, though it has rebounded slightly.

Alleged fire safety issues with Tesla solar panels have been reported previously.

In 2019, U.S. retailer Walmart sued Tesla over fires at seven branches where panels were installed. The lawsuit was later dropped, following a settlement agreement.

Tesla abolished its public relations department in 2020, so could not be reached for comment.

Credit to: https://bbc.in/3m7Xysn