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Tesla whistleblower's solar panel defect claims spark SEC probe, report says

A former employee alleges the company failed to properly warn people of fire risks.

Tesla Solar Roof
A Tesla whistleblower alleges that the company didn't give enough warning about fire risks posed by defects in its solar panels. 

The US Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Tesla after a whistleblower complained that the company failed to provide adequate warning of fire risks created by defects in its solar panels, Reuters reported Monday. The disclosure of the probe apparently followed a Freedom of Information Act request by former Tesla field quality manager Steven Henkes.

Henkes was fired from Tesla last year and sued the company, alleging he lost his job for raising safety concerns. 

In the SEC complaint, he said that Tesla didn't notify customers or regulators that defective electrical connectors could result in fires, according to Reuters. Instead, the company seemingly told them that it had to conduct maintenance on the system to avoid shutdowns. More than 60,000 US residential customers and 500 government and commercial accounts were affected by the issue, Reuters reported.

The SEC declined to comment, and Tesla no longer operates a public relations department to field press requests.