Amazon Shuts Down Solar Rooftops at All US Distribution Facilities Due to Fires Until Further Notice

A string of recent fires at multiple Amazon distribution centers and other facilities forces the e-commerce and retail giant to temporarily shut down solar rooftop solar panels that were behind the costly blazes.

“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,” an Amazon spokesperson told Fox Business on Sunday. 

According to documents that were first obtained by CNBC, and reported by the news agency, Amazon experienced “critical fire or arc flash events” at over six sites in North America with solar installations, which represents about 12.7% of their applicable facilities.

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“The rate of dangerous incidents is unacceptable, and above industry averages,” an Amazon employee wrote in an internal report, according to CNBC. 

One fire back in June of 2021 caused over $500,000 worth of damages. An investigation by the Office of the State Fire Marshall determined that the cause was “accidental” and involved “an unspecified event involving the solar panel system.” 

Amazon touted itself as the “world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy” in last year’s sustainability report that laid out its goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. 

“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 that its solar installations will come back online after inspections are completed. 

“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,” the spokesperson said Sunday. 

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