Amazon installs Colorado’s largest rooftop project


The language of rooftop solar installations is one spoken in kW, as it takes a truly massive project to break the MW barrier. But, when you’re dealing with a company like Amazon, big is nothing new, a fact proven time and again, as the company has announced that its new fulfillment center in Thornton, Colorado will feature the state’s largest rooftop solar array.

Outside of being the largest in the state, the 6 MW behemoth will be among the largest in the country and even the world. For reference, these 6 MW come courtesy of  more than 17,000 solar panels across 19 acres, or more than 14 football fields in area.

The installation, Amazon’s first east of Nevada and West of Virginia brings the company to nearly 76 MW of solar installed on rooftops across the country. That’s good for strengthening the company’s place as having the 5th most installed on-site solar of any company in the country.

Amazon’s rise in total installed solar rankings on-site or otherwise has been nothing short of meteoric. Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) 2017 Solar Means Business report credited Amazon with an installed solar capacity of 34 MW. This put Amazon in 10th place for total installed solar capacity. However, not all of that rise is due to rapid development, more methodology development, as SEIA did not track large off-site installations until the 2018 Solar Means Business report. By adding off-site installations, Amazon got an immediate 180 MW bump, thanks to two projects in Virginia.

Outside of the United States, this project is Amazon’s first since reaching its 2017 goal of installing rooftop solar systems at 50 fulfillment centers by 2020. This is the company’s 51st rooftop installation and 32nd in the United States, with the rest of the portfolio made up of 12 installations in the European Union and seven in India.

The project was installed by REC Solar, a subsidiary of Duke Energy and is expected to begin generation on November 1. The craziest part of the installation is that, even at 6 MW, the installation is expected to meet less than 100% of the fulfillment center’s electricity needs, with expectations being in the 85% range.

Colorado is the eighth state to host an Amazon fulfillment center solar facility, joining its predecessors New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, Nevada, Massachusetts, Virginia and California.

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