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    Amazon Quietly Took All Rooftop Solar Panels Offline After Danger Became Impossible to Ignore

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    After many rooftop fires in the years 2020–2021, Amazon temporarily shut down all solar panels to conduct system inspections. The massive e-commerce company did this covertly and without bringing up the issues in its sustainability report.

    On April 14, 2020, in Fresno, California, a solar panel fire at an Amazon warehouse was initially noted, according to CNBC. About 220 solar panels and other equipment were damaged at the FAT1 storage by a three-alarm fire.

    Leland Wilding, an investigator for the Fresno fire department, stated in a report that the fire was ignited by “an undetermined electrical event within the solar system mounted on top of the roof,” according to CNBC.

    A little more than a year later, a fire was reported to have occurred in Perryville, Maryland. According to the Kent County News, it took 60 volunteer firemen nearly 80 minutes to put out the fire at an Amazon warehouse in June 2021.

    By the time firemen brought the two-alarm fire under control, the Perryville Amazon warehouse had sustained damage worth around $500,000.

    Once more, investigators claimed that “an unspecified event involving the solar panel system,” was to blame for the fire.

    Between April 2020 and June 2021, at least four additional solar panel fires occurred, according to information seen by CNBC. The source said that Amazon had never made the materials public.

    At least six of the 47 Amazon locations in North America with solar installations of any kind experienced “critical fire or arc flash occurrences” during that time. This indicates that 12.7% of the facilities experienced electrical fires or explosions.

    According to CNBC, one of the internal reports contained a statement from an employee that read,“The rate of dangerous incidents is unacceptable, and above industry averages.”

    Amazon briefly shut down all of its solar panels in the United States to inspect the systems due to the frequent fires.

    The corporation made the decision to hold off on “re-energizing” any of its solar power systems until assessments showed they were properly created, set up, and maintained.

    Erika Howard, an Amazon spokeswoman, confirmed that the corporation had taken this action and claimed that it had done so willingly.

    She said in a statement to CNBC that “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.”

    But when Amazon published its thorough 2021 sustainability report, it omitted any reference to any solar power system shutdown, whether permanent or temporary.

    More on this story via The Republic Brief:

    Instead, it boasted about the benefits of solar power for a number of its facilities.

    “Many of our fulfillment facilities throughout the U.S., Europe, and India are powered by on-site solar, where a rooftop installation can power up to 80 percent of the facility’s energy use,” the report said. “As of 2021, 115 of our global fulfillment facilities have rooftop solar installations.” CONTINUE READING…

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