Amazon is pledging to install solar energy systems on 50 of its fulfillment center rooftops around the world by 2020, starting with 15 U.S. facilities this year. The initiative, announced this morning, is part a broader move by the tech giant to increase its use of clean energy.
The company says the solar installations could provide as much as 80 percent of each fulfillment center’s annual energy needs, depending on the project and time of year. The first projects will be in California, New Jersey, Maryland, Nevada and Delaware, generating up to 41 megawatts of power by the end of the year, according to the company.
At the company’s 1.1 million square foot fulfillment center in Patterson, Calif., for example, Amazon says solar panels cover more than three-quarters of the rooftop and will power the robotics used inside the facility.
Apart from this new initiative, the company has existing wind and solar farms in California, New Jersey, Maryland, Nevada and Delaware, serving electric grids that include its massive data centers in those areas. Other projects include recycling “waste heat” from a nearby data center to power the company’s newest buildings in Seattle.
Amazon says it’s also expanding its Career Choice retraining program for its workers to include certification in solar installation, raising the possibility that some current warehouse workers could ultimately install panels on Amazon roofs.