On Tuesday, Amazon said that it would install solar panels on 15 of its fulfillment and sorting centers around the US in 2017. That may not seem like a lot, but the massive warehouses in California, New Jersey, Maryland, Nevada, and Delaware account for millions in rooftop square footage and will ultimately reflect 41MW of installed capacity.
ARS TECHNICA — “Depending on the specific project, time of year, and other factors, a solar installation could generate as much as 80 percent of a single fulfillment facility’s annual energy needs,” Amazon wrote in a press release. That energy will provide electricity for everything from keeping the lights on to powering Amazon Robotics at fulfillment centers.y for as much renewable energy as all of its data centers and offices worldwide consumed. The search giant said at the time that the move to renewable energy wasn’t just for show—it was about avoiding energy price fluctuations in the long term.
That’s a sentiment Amazon echoed as well in its Tuesday press release. “We are putting our scale and inventive culture to work on sustainability—this is good for the environment, our business, and our customers," wrote Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations. "By diversifying our energy portfolio, we can keep business costs low and pass along further savings to customers. It’s a win-win.”
Tesla—maker of electric cars, batteries, and residential solar panels—has planned a massive solar array for the roof of its Nevada Gigafactory. General Motors is also embracing solar, and it announced last year that the company would move to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Amazon has built out wind and solar farms in Texas, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia to mitigate the tremendous amount of power needed to sustain its data centers around the US.
Amazon said it was the top corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the US in 2016. In its press release, the company added that “to date, Amazon has announced or commenced construction on projects which will generate a total of 3.6 million MWh of renewable energy.”
Despite the obvious symbiosis that solar panels and warehouse rooftops could share, commercial-scale solar is one of the slowest-growing markets for the solar industry. Utility-scale and even residential-scale have outstripped commercial for a few years now.
I'm your go to solar energy expert here to guide you step-by-step through all of your solar options.
James The Solar Energy Expert