Amazon Facilities with Solar Rooftops Catch Fire

Amazon Facilities with Solar Rooftops Catch Fire

September 12, 2022

Amazon made a bold statement that they would zero out emissions by the year 2040. To help reach this unrealistic goal, the company installed solar panels on top of different facilities across the country, including Whole Foods stores. Unfortunately, these solar panels were faulty, and between April 2020 and June 2021, at least six facilities experienced a fire or explosion.   CNBC reports on internal documents from Amazon that discuss the fires. 

“The documents, which have never been made public, indicate that between April 2020 and June 2021, Amazon experienced “critical fire or arc flash events” in at least six of its 47 North American sites with solar installations, affecting 12.7% of such facilities. Arc flashes are a kind of electrical explosion.”

“The rate of dangerous incidents is unacceptable, and above industry averages,” an Amazon employee wrote in one of the internal reports.

By June of last year, all solar panels had been taken offline. Amazon spokesperson Erika Howard told CNBC. 

“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,” the statement said. 

This is an excellent example of how unpredictable solar energy can be. It is unrealistic and dangerous to cover the building in solar panels that could cause fires at any moment. Companies should view this as a warning. Renewable energy is unreliable, and making the jump to complete renewables too soon could be catastrophic.