A series of costly fires has led to Amazon shutting down solar panels on its facilities across the US.
The fires have been linked to the solar panels and now the company has moved to shut them down while it investigates.
An Amazon spokesperson said: “Out of an abundance of caution, following a small number of isolated incidents with onsite solar systems owned and operated by third parties, Amazon proactively powered off our onsite solar installations in North America, and took immediate steps to re-inspect each installation by a leading solar technical expert firm.”
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Amazon had experienced “critical fire or arc flash events” at six solar-installation sites in North America, accounting for approximately 12.7 percent of all applicable facilities.
An internal report said: “The rate of dangerous incidents is unacceptable, and above industry averages.
In June 2021, a fire broke out at an Amazon warehouse in Perryville, Maryland, causing $500,000 in damage.
The cause was “accidental,” according to an investigation by the Office of the State Fire Marshall, and involved “an unspecified event involving the solar panel system.”
In last year’s sustainability report, Amazon touted itself as the “world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy,” with a goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.
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As of April, the company had installed solar systems at 176 facilities around the world.
The company’s sustainability report is 2021 said: “We procure new renewable energy through contracts for utility-scale wind and solar, on-site rooftop solar installations, and green tariffs with local utilities that deliver new, renewable energy to the grids where we operate,” the company wrote in the 2021 sustainability report.
Amazon said its solar installations will reopen once inspections are completed.
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The spokesperson continued: “Amazon also built a team of dedicated solar experts overseeing the construction, operations, and maintenance of our systems in-house to ensure the safety of our systems.”
Amazon’s operations are already powered by 85 percent renewable energy, with a goal of reaching 100 percent by 2025.
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