State Says Tesla Again Failed To Get Permit For Solar Project

May 14, 2019

Tesla’s solar energy company is again in trouble with the state of Vermont.

Last year, the Public Utility Commission fined Tesla $1,000 for failing to get a required permit for more than 100 solar projects. The fine was recently upheld by the Vermont Supreme Court. Now the commission has opened a new investigation into the company. It said Tesla committed a similar infraction by starting a project in East Montpelier before it got approval from regulators.

"They were very good about remediation and we thought we had put protections in place so this wouldn't happen again. And so here we are and it has happened again." - James Porter, state public advocate

James Porter, public advocate at the Department of Public Service, said the fine may be steeper this time.

“As we’re looking at a fine for the second offense, you know, that will be taken into consideration by both the department and the commission,” he said.

Tesla moved to Vermont in 2015 and began marketing mostly small scale solar projects under the name SolarCity. But the company failed to get the required permits – known as a certificate of public good – for 134 projects, according to the PUC.

Porter said he’ll be looking for a remediation plan from the company that will prevent future problems.

“They were very good about remediation and we thought we had put protections in place so this wouldn’t happen again,” he said. “And so here we are and it has happened again.”

Tesla declined to comment to VPR. In documents filed with the PUC, it said it made a mistake and accidentally began work on the project prior to approval.