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Amazon Pledges To Cover 15 Massive Warehouse Rooftops With Solar Panels (arstechnica.com) 44

Amazon announced earlier this week that it would install solar panels on 15 of its fulfillment and sorting centers around the U.S. in 2017. "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," reports Ars Technica. From the report: Amazon is finding stride with other major companies, but it's a bit short compared to some of its more ambitious peers. For example, Google announced in December that by the end of 2017 it would be using a carbon offsets program to pay 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."
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Amazon Pledges To Cover 15 Massive Warehouse Rooftops With Solar Panels

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  • And I for one am glad that Amazon Sustainability is taking such a forward-looking cost-cutting measure by using large-scale renewable energy instead of expensive and polluting fossil fuels for the bulk of their warehouse roofing space.

    Kudos to Seattle's former transit czar!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And how are those solar panels manufactured? With energy from fossil fuels.

      And how are Amazon's products getting shipped to customers? Using fossil fuels.

      Idiots. It's a gimmick designed to make you think they care, because their customers want them to care. They pat you on the head and send you on your way thinking you somehow influenced them.

      • by shilly ( 142940 )

        Don't be an absolute arse-twonk. Don't let the best be the enemy of the good.

      • And how are those solar panels manufactured? With energy from fossil fuels.

        Actually, n00b, here in the Pacific Northwest, where we make carbon fiber jets, solar, wind turbine blades we use hydropower, solar, and wind for most of our energy.

        Adapt.

        The market cares nothing for your 18th century fossil fuel religion.

  • I mean, Amazon must be getting carbon credits or something for this, right? Right? /s
    • I mean, Amazon must be getting carbon credits or something for this, right? Right? /s

      They get tax credits, which basically amounts to the public paying for part of their power usage.

  • He's still going to fill those warehouses with employees who are LITERALLY not allowed to talk to each other under pain of termination.
  • Covering the entire rooftop of one of these facilities should provide far more electricity than required to operate it. Robots, lighting, and even HVAC should represent fairly modest loads in comparison.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Higher efficiency warehouses lighting has not even kicked in yet ie LED lighting automatically switched on or off at points of work, unlike high intensity discharge lamps https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org], not long start up time and off and on is very energy inefficient for them. So warehousing is set to become even more energy efficient, next question, is it worth covering the carpark with carports with solar panels, how close is that decision.

      • My understanding is that robotic workhouses are not lit or climate controlled to human standards so the savings might be smaller.

        Personally, I'm happy with LED lighting since about 2012.

    • Yes, when the sun is shining on a cloudless day at the best time of day for how the panels are situated then the facility then the panels should provide a good percentage of the electrical needs. I can't say for sure because I don't know how much one of their facilities requires and how many panels they can install on the roof.

      But what about the rest of the day when the sun hitting the panels isn't optimal? At 9:00AM the sun is up but you aren't getting the full amount of electricity being generated. And t

  • Going Green (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jxander ( 2605655 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @09:18PM (#53973397)

    At what point do we stop praising companies for "going green," when switching to solar just makes financial sense?

    The company will net profit from this investment. It also happens to be good for the environment, so hooray, but I'm willing to bet the former was the real reason for this.

    It kinda feels like praising companies for cancelling their ritual kitten sacrifice. They might be doing it out of the goodness of their hearts, or maybe kittens are just getting pricey, and then you've gotta steam clean the carpets because SOMEONE tracked blood everywhere...

    • by fgouget ( 925644 )
      For as long as the seemingly prevailing opinion is that global warming is a Chinese conspiracy?
  • by Londovir ( 705740 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @10:02PM (#53973573)
    Although I'm pleased to see this announcement, living here in Lakeland, FL where there's a fairly large Amazon distribution center I'm really disappointed that there's no move this year to put these here, when they're going to be putting them in Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey. In virtually every solar radiation average exposure map I've seen, Florida generally receives more solar radiation than all three of those states - and sometimes more than areas of California as well. This area is ripe for this, at least from a physical standpoint. I have to assume there's some sort of governmental roadblock in the way at the moment that isn't to their tastes, because it certainly can't be because they won't generate enough power down here.
    • by Notabadguy ( 961343 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @10:40PM (#53973733)

      Although I'm pleased to see this announcement, living here in Lakeland, FL where there's a fairly large Amazon distribution center I'm really disappointed that there's no move this year to put these here, when they're going to be putting them in Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey. In virtually every solar radiation average exposure map I've seen, Florida generally receives more solar radiation than all three of those states - and sometimes more than areas of California as well. This area is ripe for this, at least from a physical standpoint. I have to assume there's some sort of governmental roadblock in the way at the moment that isn't to their tastes, because it certainly can't be because they won't generate enough power down here.

      Yes, it is harder to get solar in Florida. If you voted in November, don't you remember the solar amendment?

      https://www.wired.com/2016/10/... [wired.com]

      http://www.sun-sentinel.com/op... [sun-sentinel.com]

  • Never mind the "Depending on the specific project, time of year and other factors" sleaze-speak, behind which is hidden some reality that would temper the tone of the press release... and just going with that absurd 80% figure... what they're describing here is (by definition) a facility that always consumes more energy than it produces. "Gonna give back to the grid" people can remain blissfully silent. So regardless of what it means for them, what it would mean for you is that these Amazon warehouses wil

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