Amazon has filled the roof of a massive two million square foot fulfilment centre in Essex with 11,500 solar panels as part of a pledge to move to renewable energy by 2025.
With an annual production of around 2,700 megawatt hours – or a capacity of 4.83 megawatts – the Amazon ‘solar system’ will generate the equivalent electricity needed to power 700 homes for one year.
The impressive installation was unveiled on Thursday at Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Tilbury, Essex – the second largest Amazon facility in the world and the largest in Europe.
The solar development is part of Amazon’s Climate Pledge, launched last year that commits the company to move to fully renewable energy and become net zero carbon across the whole business by 2040.
Brittany Stanton, Senior Energy Programme Manager at Amazon, said they were putting their ‘scale and inventive culture’ to work on sustainability and saving the planet for future generations.
‘We are proud of the fact that Amazon has a goal to power our global infrastructure using 100 per cent renewable energy,’ Stanton explained.
‘This solar panel installation is just one of the ways we are working to make our fulfilment centre network sustainable.’
To reach the 100 per cent renewable energy goal by 2025 Amazon plans to invest in more large on-site solar installations throughout the fulfilment network.
These solar systems are then able to power the centres directly, reducing their reliance on fossil fuels or other energy – but they also plan to contribute to the grid.
‘We will also invest in large off-site renewable energy, wind and solar projects where the power goes into our local utility grids,’ said Stanton.
‘We’re investing in sustainability and renewable energy projects of this kind because it’s good for the environment, good for our communities, and good for business.’
This latest solar system, future renewable installations and other projects form part of the wider Amazon Climate Pledge, first announced in 2019, the company confirmed.
The pledge is an outline of the wider commitment to be completely free of carbon emissions by 2040 – a decade ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement target.
The Paris agreement urges countries and companies to work to remove or offset carbon emissions by 2050 in a bit to stop temperatures rising by more than 3.6F over pre-industrial levels by 2100.
The idea is that these are the minimum measures required to stop the worst effects of climate change from happening.
These effects could include extreme heatwaves, rising sea levels from ice caps and glaciers melting and severe weather.
As part of the pledge Amazon is also moving to fully-electric delivery vehicles and investing $100 million in reforestation projects around the world.
The pledge commits Amazon and other signatories to measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and implementing decarbonisation strategies.
‘We’re done being in the middle of the herd on this issue—we’ve decided to use our size and scale to make a difference,’ said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO.
‘If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon – which delivers more than 10 billion items a year – can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then any company can,’ he said in 2019 when announcing the pledge.