Amazon temporarily took all rooftop solar energy systems offline in 2021 due to fires

Fires caused by rooftop solar panels have led Amazon fulfillment centers to temporarily shut down those solar systems that were to blame for the blazes.

Between April 2020 and June 2021, Amazon experienced “critical fire or arc flash events” at six sites in North America with solar installations, according to internal documents obtained by CNBC. That number represents approximately 12.7 percent of all applicable facilities. An Amazon employee wrote in an internal report obtained by the outlet that “the rate of dangerous incidents is unacceptable, and above industry averages.”

An Amazon spokesperson told the outlet, “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.”

According to the e-commerce giant, the solar-powered installations will come back online after inspections are completed.

The spokesperson added, “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.”

According to CNBC, the details of the fires were not in Amazon’s 100-page sustainability report for 2021, which was published at the beginning of August.

Amazon has set a goal of 100 percent of operations powered by renewable energy by 2025. The company is already at 85 percent.

Last month, while the Biden administration declared that the US economy is not in a recession, citing low unemployment numbers as a balance for the two straight quarters of declining GDP growth, Amazon let 100,000 employees go in a single quarter.

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