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Tesla agrees to pay fine, install solar project in air quality case with Bay Area Air District

The Fremont factory. (Credit: Tesla)

Tesla has agreed to pay a $1 million fine and install a solar roof project on top of its Fremont Factory in Northern California as part of a settlement with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD). Tesla was found to have 33 separate violations at the Fremont Factory, the BAAQMD said in a press release. Tesla settled with the organization on May 7th.

“The Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced today that Tesla, Inc., has agreed to pay a $1 million penalty and install a solar roof project to settle air quality violations at its manufacturing plant in Fremont,” the press release from the BAAQMD indicated. According to the report, Tesla had 33 different violations that included emissions exceeding Tesla’s permit limits, installing or modifying equipment without proper permits, failure to conduct required emissions testing, failure to maintain records, and failure to report information to the Air District in a timely manner.

Interestingly, the document does not include any additional details regarding the violations. One of the most peculiar citations is for “failure to conduct required emissions testing” because Tesla’s all-electric cars do not have tailpipes, making them free of emissions.

A snapshot from a drone flyover of the Tesla Fremont factory on June 29, 2018. [Credit: DarkSoldier 360/YouTube]

Nevertheless, Tesla agreed to pay the $1 million fine and install a solar roof project that will “provide emissions-free electric power and also provide reliability in the event that grid power is unavailable due to Public Safety Power Shutoffs or other reasons.”

“This settlement requires Tesla’s compliance with Air District regulations at its Fremont facility and demonstrates the Air District’s continuing efforts to ensure strict compliance with air pollution regulations while seeking mutually beneficial solutions for the community,” Jack Broadbent, the Air District’s Executive Officer said. “As part of this settlement, Tesla has agreed to implement a community microgrid project, which leverages the company’s technological expertise in developing next generation power here in the Bay Area.”

The Solar Roof project will be approximately 160 kW and will be paired with two Powerpacks for energy storage. Tesla will fund the microgrid system, and the BAAQMD says that the project focuses on improving local air quality and public health in the Bay Area’s most heavily impacted areas. Lowering electricity costs and providing cleaner air to the community are also listed as the project’s main goals.

Additionally, Tesla will implement a comprehensive environmental management system that will track environmental requirements. It will also ensure that managers and other high-level employees are trained on the compliance of the air quality measures and ensure Tesla’s full compliance as a company moving forward. “Tesla has already begun implementing such a system, but today’s settlement agreement will make this a legally binding and enforceable commitment,” the press release says.

BAAQMD says that all violations that led to Tesla’s investigation and the settlement have been corrected, and the Fremont Factory is once again fully compliant. BAAQMD will use the $1 million fine to improve air quality in the Bay Area.

Tesla is one of the most environmentally friendly companies in the world. Because of the automaker’s pledge to creating all-electric, sustainable, and Earth-friendly powertrains, over 16.4 million tons of CO2 have been saved by Tesla vehicles in the United States, according to the company’s website.

The press release entailing the fine and solar roof project from BAAQMD is available below.

settle_tesla_210507_2021_007 pdf by Joey Klender on Scribd

Tesla agrees to pay fine, install solar project in air quality case with Bay Area Air District
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