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Uncategorized sunrun solarcity lawsuit on facts

Published on February 14th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Yikes, SunPower Sues SolarCity

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February 14th, 2012 by Zachary Shahan
sunrun solarcity lawsuit on facts

Two of the largest and most successful solar power companies in the world are getting into a scuffle now, news broke today. SunPower, a solar panel efficiency world record holder and the most popular solar panel company in California last time I checked, is suing SolarCity, the clear leader in residential solar installations in the U.S.

SunPower-SolarCity Lawsuit

What’s the lawsuit over? Well, SunPower asserts that five ex-SunPower employees who now work for SolarCity stole confidential information from SunPower, committing computer fraud. Additionally, it asserts that SolarCity is aware of this and “knowingly” accepted the information.

SunPower’s temporary restraining order shows that the defendants in this case are SolarCity, Tom Leyden, Matt Giannini, Dan Leary, Felix Aguayo, and Alice Cathcart.

“Aguayo had accessed his company email account after he was terminated [and] had forwarded customer information, price lists, and market reports to his personal email address on or about November 18, 2011,” the legal document claims.

“The forensic analysis established that shortly before leaving SunPower, defendants Leyden, Giannini, Leary, Aguayo, and Cathcart connected personal USB devices and used them to steal tens-of-thousands of computer files containing SunPower confidential information and non-confidential proprietary information,” it also states. “These files included at least quotes, deals, proposals, contracts, and files containing forecast analysis, market analysis, and information downloaded from the database.”

This all occurred on defendants’ last days of work at SunPower.

Going on: “Leyden also copied highly confidential data from the SunPower database…the data included information about major SunPower customers accounting for $100 million of sales throughout 2011…this information allowed Leyden to recruit SunPower employees, including Leary, Aguayo, and Cathcart.”

The lawsuit asserts that Leyden actively recruited the other SunPower employees to work for SolarCity as the startup engaged in a big commercial sales push.

“In addition to civil damages and injunctive relief, SunPower also wants to hold the ex-employees criminally liable for violating a California law prohibiting unauthorized computer data access and fraud.”

Check out the entire legal complaint for more.

SolarCity actually looked set for an IPO within weeks, a story on Reuters reported this month, something we were set to cover. Looks like that may be a bit delayed.

Source: Greentech Media
Scale via shutterstock

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.

  • Maui Dude

    Who can blame people for wanting to leave a Clean Energy SOLAR Company that sold it’s soul to the devil and is now owned by a FOREIGN OIL CONGLOMERATE! LOL!

  • Solarman

    the rat is still on the ship:

    homas Leyden is responsible for managing SolarCity’s nationwide commercial organization and identifying new opportunities for growth.

  • Anonymous

    Ouch! this is gonna hurt Solar City.

    • Zachary Shahan

      that’s what i was thinking. not fun to watch…

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