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Fires on Amazon warehouse roofs seemingly caused by faulty PV installations

Fires on Amazon warehouse roofs seemingly caused by faulty PV installations

Problems prompted company to temporarily take all solar offline.


By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | September 14, 2022
Solar Panel Roof
Courtesy Pexels.

Amazon has made installing solar panels on rooftops a key part of its ESG strategy, but a series of events last year show how challenging greening up major facilities can be.

Between April 2020 and June 2021, solar panels on Amazon fulfillment center roofs caught fire or experienced electrical explosions at least six times. As a result, the company took all U.S. solar rooftops offline last year while it investigated the mishaps.

According to a CNBC report, Amazon hired a consultant to audit its rooftop solar systems in the U.S., Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. The study discovered several problems at various sites including mismatched module-to-module connectors, improper installation of connectors, poor wire management, and evidence of water intrusion in the inverters, CNBC reported.

Each fire reportedly cost the company an average of $2.7 million, which included third-party audits of rooftop solar systems, checks on how much electricity they were generating, and repairs for broken or faulty parts.

Despite the setbacks, Amazon remains committed to solar power and continues to monitor the situation, making repairs where needed. As of this April, Amazon had onsite solar at 176 facilities. Its solar program began in 2017.

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Mass Timber

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