Amazon has announced a praise that solar energy will provide power to ‘sorting robots’, aka ‘team members’. Last we knew, robots didn’t have mouths to feed or need to worry about financing their retirement. Is this how the renewable energy industry promotes job growth? In a confusing array (solar term) of articles, we see big job cuts in solar; claims of gangbuster solar development in Ohio despite the recent mandate freeze; Amazon shifting to solar to power their robots that have replaced humans but which Amazon calls “team members”! ; and news from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association that co-ops are quadrupling their solar facilities. In Ohio, electric co-ops are EXEMPT from the mandate law.
SolarCity eliminated a little more than 3,000 jobs — or about 20 percent of its workforce — over the past year as the solar energy systems installer moved to cut costs as its business cooled. SolarCity said last year that it was moving to cut jobs and reduce costs but provided few details of its plans. It disclosed the scope of the cutbacks Wednesday in a regulatory filing. The cuts affected workers across most of SolarCity’s operations, including installers and manufacturing employees, along with sales, marketing and administrative staff, the filing said. In all, SolarCity finished last year with 12,243 employees, down from 15,273 at the end of 2015. The job cuts come at a time when SolarCity also is gearing up to begin production at a sprawling solar panel factory in South Buffalo (NY). If SolarCity doesn’t meet its job commitments, the company could face a penalty of $41.2 million a year from the state, which spent $750 million in taxpayer funds to build and equip the factory.
The Solar Foundation reports solar installation jobs are up in Ohio. “There’s just a lot of activity going on here in Ohio, every county in the state has solar systems,” said William Spratley, executive director of Green Energy Ohio, a Columbus-based advocacy group. “While the renewable energy freeze has had a significant impact on wind energy development in Ohio, Spratley said, solar hasn’t taken the same hit. Instead, it’s poised to grow exponentially. Ohio’s solar electric capacity is expected to add 482 megawatts over the next five years, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, more than six times the amount added in the previous five years….
Ecommerce giant Amazon recently announced its impressive plans to make a massive shift to solar. After receiving less than praiseworthy reviews on their commitment to renewable energy from Greenpeace, Amazon decided that it will not continue to lag behind corporations like Walmart, Target, and Apple in reducing is carbon footprint.Although the company has made significant strides by installing solar farms, PV arrays on its warehouses, its efforts looked halfhearted at best when comparing them to a number of other forward-thinking corporations. According to Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide, “it’s fair to say we’re taking a very aggressive approach to the amount of square footage in the U.S.” By square footage, he means the sizeable amount of square footage available on their warehouse rooftops….
The project will start first in Patterson, Calif., where the company has a 1.1 million square foot warehouse expected to hold 75 percent of its space with solar in the coming months. The power generated by this system will provide power to the hundreds of sorting robotics that is housed in the facility. The known states that will be following include Maryland, Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey — each facility offering an average of the same space and energy needs of the California warehouse.
The robotics are not the only member of the Amazon team that will benefit from the solar panel systems. The retailer has also announced that it plans to expand its CareerChoice program to pay for educating warehouse employees to get certified as photovoltaic installers….