Amazon breaks China duck with first large-scale solar commitment

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Amazon already has more than 2.9GW of renewables under operation. Image: Amazon.

Retail giant Amazon has unveiled plans for five further utility-scale solar plants, including its first in China.

The US-based online retailer has greenlit five new solar farms, which will add to its sizeable portfolio of renewable energy projects. Included in its latest announcement are the company’s first in China, its second in Australia and an additional three in the US; two in Ohio and one in Virginia.

The five arrays will have a combined generation capacity of 615MW, the output of which will be used to power Amazon fulfilment centres and Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centres.

The project in China is to be based in Shandong and will have a 100MW nameplate capacity, while the Australian project, located in New South Wales, will boast an output of 105MW.

Amazon’s largest project in this tranche will be based in Ohio, where a 200MW solar PV project will be developed. An additional 80MW plant will also come forward in Ohio, while a 130MW plant in Virginia will take the total number of Amazon-owned renewables projects in the state to 12.

Kara Hurst, VP of sustainability at Amazon, said the five new projects would form a “critical part” of the Jeff Bezos-owned company’s roadmap to meet its pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2040.

“In fact, we believe it is possible to reach 100% renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of the goals we announced last fall. While this will be challenging, we have a credible plan to get there,” she added.

The latest raft of solar commitments from Amazon adds to a flurry of deals the web giant has penned in recent months. It committed to its first projects in Spain in December 2019, followed by a fresh batch of projects – including its first in Australia – just three months later.

Its spate of projects committed to in the US was also picked up by analysis by BloombergNEF at the turn of the year, which put Amazon in third place of a list of the top corporate renewable energy buyers in the country, trailing rival tech giants Google and Facebook.

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