Amazon Quietly Took All Their Rooftop Solar Panels Offline After Series of Fires and Explosions

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After a number of rooftop fires between 2020-2021, Amazon briefly took all photo voltaic panels offline to finish inspections of every of its techniques. The e-commerce large did so quietly with out mentioning the issues in its sustainability report.

The primary reported photo voltaic panel fireplace at an Amazon warehouse occurred on April 14, 2020, in Fresno, California, CNBC reported. The warehouse was known as FAT1, and the three-alarm fireplace broken about 220 photo voltaic panels together with different tools.

In a report, Fresno fireplace investigator Leland Wilding wrote the blaze began from “an undetermined electrical occasion inside the photo voltaic system mounted on prime of the roof,” CNBC reported.

The final reported fireplace came about barely greater than a yr later in Perryville, Maryland. The June 2021 fireplace at an Amazon warehouse took roughly 60 volunteer firefighters about 80 minutes to extinguish, the Kent County News reported.

By the point firefighters managed the two-alarm fireplace, it had triggered about $500,000 in harm to the Perryville Amazon facility.

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As soon as once more, investigators stated the reason for the fireplace was “an unspecified occasion involving the photo voltaic panel system.”

In response to paperwork obtained by CNBC, at the least 4 different photo voltaic panel fireplace came about between April 2020 – June 2021. The outlet stated Amazon had by no means publicized the paperwork.

Of the 47 Amazon websites in North America with any type of solar set up, at the least six noticed “crucial fireplace or arc flash occasions” in that timeframe. Because of this {the electrical} fires or explosions occurred at 12.7 p.c of the amenities.

“The speed of harmful incidents is unacceptable, and above business averages,” an worker wrote in one of many inner studies in line with CNBC.

The frequent fires led Amazon to briefly take all of its photo voltaic panels in the USA offline to overview the techniques.

The corporate decided it might not “re-energize” any of its solar energy techniques till evaluations had decided they have been appropriately designed, put in and maintained.

Amazon spokeswoman Erika Howard confirmed the corporate took this step, and she or he stated the corporate did so voluntarily.

“Out of an abundance of warning, following a small variety of remoted incidents with onsite photo voltaic techniques owned and operated by third events, Amazon proactively powered off our onsite photo voltaic installations in North America, and took fast steps to re-inspect every set up by a number one photo voltaic technical knowledgeable agency,” she instructed CNBC in a press release.

But when Amazon issued its intensive 2021 sustainability report, it failed to say any shutdown of solar energy techniques, short-term or in any other case.

As a substitute, it boasted about the advantages of solar energy for quite a few its amenities.

“Lots of our achievement amenities all through the U.S., Europe, and India are powered by on-site photo voltaic, the place a rooftop set up can energy as much as 80 p.c of the ability’s power use,” the report stated. “As of 2021, 115 of our world achievement amenities have rooftop photo voltaic installations.”

Amazon solely talked about the potential advantages of solar energy techniques for its amenities, and it omitted any point out of the dangers it had skilled firsthand.

Howard instructed CNBC the photo voltaic power installations have been being powered again on after the completion of inspections.

“Amazon additionally constructed a crew of devoted photo voltaic specialists overseeing the development, operations, and upkeep of our techniques in-house to make sure the protection of our techniques,” she stated.

In one other inner doc obtained by CNBC, an Amazon worker stated the fireplace incidents stemming from photo voltaic panels price the corporate a mean of $2.7 million every.

As well as, the worker stated Amazon would lose $20,000 per 30 days for every of the 47 websites that took its photo voltaic installations offline. Once more, this data was left off the 2021 sustainability report.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos pledged in 2019 that the corporate would attain internet zero emissions by 2040, CNBC reported. The so-called “Local weather Pledge” was some of the aggressive sustainability plans within the nation.

This text appeared initially on The Western Journal.





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