Large technology corporations are some of the biggest energy users on the planet. Huge data centers and massive buildings are usually very costly to maintain and power, but Amazon is now boarding the green energy train. They have announced plans to install rooftop solar systems on at least 50 of their fulfillment centers across North America. By the end of 2017, they expect to generate up to 41 megawatts of solar energy.
Amazon already has wind and solar farms in Texas, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia that help power AWS data centers. The new installations will generate more than ten times the power of those current projects though.
Depending on the weather conditions and installation specifics, the solar panels could produce up to 80% of the annual energy for a site. This free energy will go towards powering the countless little sorting robots that make each fulfillment center work.
The new project is impressive, but Amazon still has a long way to go. Other tech giants like Google have been heavily focusing on green power in recent years, which left Amazon lagging behind according to industry environmental watchdogs. Amazon's goal is to be at 50% renewable energy by the end of 2017, while Google's goal was to be at 100% renewable by the start of 2017.
All in all, these huge renewable energy projects are a win for everyone. Consumers may even see some of the energy savings passed along to them in the form of cheaper prices down the road.