SolarCity Corp., the rooftop solar developer controlled by Elon Musk, was accused of misappropriating trade secrets and other intellectual property in a lawsuit over the development of shingled-cell solar modules.
SolarCity got a head start in developing the modules after SunPower Corp.’s Cogenra Solar unit shared its shingling technology for manufacturing solar panels, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in San Francisco federal court. Cogenra said in the complaint that it shared confidential information with Silevo Inc., which was later acquired by SolarCity.
“It was only by misappropriating Cogenra’s proprietary technology, including its trade secrets and other intellectual property, that SolarCity and Silevo were later able to announce a claim that they set a new world record for solar panel energy efficiency,” Cogenra said in the complaint.
SolarCity fired back, alleging in a statement that it had independently developed its technology for layering solar cells like shingles to increase the efficiency of panels. It also said that SunPower had failed to respond to its claim of trade-secret theft.