Amazon announced a new, company-wide initiative to deploy rooftop solar arrays on 50 of its facilities around the world by 2020.The company is kicking off the new initiative by developing 41 megawatts of rooftop solar on 15 of its US fulfillment facilities this year. The company expects that each installation will generate up to 80 percent of each facility’s annual energy demands.
“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.”
Even though Amazon was late getting into the clean energy game, its latest initiative is making up for lost time. It now has enough renewable energy projects and projects under construction that are expected to generate a total of 3.6 million megawatt-hours of clean electricity. For instance, the company announced that its subsidiary, Amazon Web Services, partnered with Community Energy and Dominion Energy in Virginia to develop 180 megawatts of utility-scale solar farms to power its data centers throughout the mid-Atlantic states.
As part of its initiative, Amazon also announced the expansion of its Career Choice program to grow its employees into other positions in high growth industries. The program will provide funding for employees to earn North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners certification and training to become solar installers for commercial and residential projects. With the rapid expansion of the renewable energy industry, one in 50 new jobs created in the US was in the solar industry during 2016, according to National Solar Jobs Census’ annual report.
“The NABCEP professional accreditation is a spring board for fulfillment center associates to enter a rapidly growing and in-demand workforce outside of Amazon as PV installers,” said Kara Hurst, Director of Amazon’s Worldwide Sustainability. “It would be great one day soon to see former associates developing solar systems on the rooftops of our fulfillment centers.”
Big box retailers and distribution companies are utilizing huge amounts of roof space to install solar arrays. For instance, retailer and Amazon rival, Target announced that it was expanding its solar generating capacity by installing solar arrays on 180 of its stores and distribution centers across the US. Once completed, those installations are predicted to total 100 megawatts of power, providing each facility between 20 and 30 percent of its energy demands.Tweet