Amazon, in push for green energy, unveils rooftop solar panels at Edison location

Gov. Phil Murphy said he continues to be thrilled that Amazon’s presence is growing in New Jersey as it furthers his vision of making the state a home not only for e-commerce, but the transportation and logistics aspects that come with it.

Monday’s ribbon-cutting at the company’s facility in Edison was a little different. Murphy was there to celebrate the center having the 19th operational rooftop solar installation in the U.S.

“The advanced transportation and logistics sectors are ones that have been pegged for growth in this state, and, with this center, we are off and running,” Murphy said. “This facility also has one foot squarely in the clean energy economy through the installation of 12,654 solar panels up on the roof to produce more than 4 megawatts of energy that will meet over 20 percent of the building’s needs.

“We are proving again today that New Jersey has everything right here that a global company like Amazon needs: an eager, smart and skilled workforce, a strategic location second-to-none that is easily connected to markets and tens of millions of customers, and we are strongly committed to innovation.”

Kara Hartnett Hurst, head of worldwide sustainability at Amazon, said the solar project, which had been built over the last six months, is part of a companywide goal announced last year to host solar rooftop systems at 50 of its fulfillment buildings by the year 2020.

“Amazon has a long-term goal to power our global infrastructure using 100 percent renewable energy, and we are committed to this goal because we know it is good for our company, our customers, the planet and the communities in which we operate,” Hurst said.

In addition to hiring local electricians to help build the system, Hurst said Amazon programs such as Career Choice, which prepays 95 percent of tuition for employees to go back to school in high-demand fields, were utilized in order to encourage local employees to get started in the solar field.

“We launched funding for associates to earn certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners so that they could become accredited solar installation professionals,” she said.

The 900,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Edison, which opened in October 2017, currently employs more than 2,500.

Amazon first launched operations in New Jersey in 2012. Since then, the company has grown its fulfillment workforce in the state to more than 16,000 full-time employees across centers in Avenel, Carteret, Cranbury Township, Edison, Florence, Logan Township, West Deptford and Robbinsville, as well as at the Amazon Audible headquarters in Newark, an Amazon Books store in Paramus and Amazon Fresh locations across the state.

In 2019, Amazon will launch another fulfillment center in Burlington, adding more than 600 full-time jobs in state.