Amazon to install solar systems on 50 fulfillment center rooftops by 2020

Seattle-based Amazon announced on Thursday a new initiative to generate clean energy by installing solar panels on its fulfillment facilities around the world.

The company plans to deploy large-scale solar systems on rooftops of more than 15 fulfillment and sortation centers in the U.S. this year and is planning to deploy solar systems on 50 fulfillment and sortation centers globally by 2020, according to an Amazon media release.

“As our fulfillment network continues to expand, we want to help generate more renewable energy at both existing and new facilities around the world in partnership with community and business leaders,” said Dave Clark, senior vice president of Worldwide Operations. “We are putting our scale and inventive culture to work on sustainability—this is good for the environment, our business and our customers. By diversifying our energy portfolio, we can keep business costs low and pass along further savings to customers. It’s a win-win.”

The initial solar projects planned for completion by the end of 2017 will generate up to 41 megawatts (MW) of power at Amazon facilities in California, New Jersey, Maryland, Nevada and Delaware.

Amazon opened an 800,000-square-foot fulfillment center last year in Kent near South 212th Street and 59th Place South.

“Currently there are no plans to host solar on the rooftop of the Kent fulfillment center but stay tuned,” said an Amazon spokeswoman in an email on Thursday.

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. For example, solar panels installed on the rooftop of the Patterson, Calif., fulfillment center cover more than three-quarters of the 1.1 million square foot building’s rooftop and will capture California’s most generous resource to power the hundreds of Amazon Robotics utilized by associates at ground-level.

Amazon’s recent renewable energy projects include the company’s largest wind farm to date, located in Texas. In addition, a network of wind and solar farms in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia are delivering energy onto the electric grid that powers AWS data centers.

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