Amazon Closer to Going Total Solar

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Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Last updated:

Amazon has made quite a leap in their solar PV energy consumption, as they have decided to build 5 new utility-scale solar projects in the US, China and Australia. In over two decades of business, Amazon has gone a long way as far as size is concerned. With that growth came a requirement of increasingly massive amounts of energy.

Last year, Amazon pledged to go 100% solar, joining the league of giants such as Facebook, Microsoft and Google. Keeping up with their promise, this year Amazon put together a plan for installing a total of 615 MW in three different countries. This would serve over a million kWh of energy to the company every year.

How It Matters

It is assuring to think that online shopping might be greener, but the harsh truth is that data centers and other facilities of companies like Amazon or Google require massive amounts of electricity. To put that into perspective, Amazon has about 91 renewable energy plants worldwide, sized at 2300 MW and generating a staggering 6.3 million MWh of energy annually – and yet this powers far less than 80% of their operations. This would be enough energy to power about 113,000 American homes every year.

a renewable solar power plant

The following is a break-down of where and how the new 615 MW of solar projects will be installed:

  1. 100 MW in Shandong, China
  2. 105 MW in New South Wales, Australia
  3. 200 MW in Ohio, USA
  4. 80 MW in Ohio, USA
  5. 130 MW in Virginia, USA

This will be Amazon’s 12th renewable energy project in the commonwealth of Virginia, and second (as well as third) in Ohio. It is the company’s first ever such project in China, and second in Australia.

According to the company’s press release, ‘these projects will supply renewable energy for the fulfillment centers and AWS data centers that support millions of customers globally’. It is also said to be a step toward ‘Achieving the Company’s Climate Pledge commitment to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years earlier and reach net zero carbon by 2040.’

Besides the 2040 net-zero target, the company also has a target of reaching 80% renewable energy by 2024, and 100% renewable energy by 2030. After the addition of the new 615 MW, Amazon’s total will stand at close to 3000 MW, generating enough power that is equivalent to the needs of nearly 700,000 American homes. It will be interesting to see how early Amazon and other companies can reach their 100% targets, especially now that solar has officially become the cheapest energy source!

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