FedEx Express Opens Solar-Powered Hub in Germany

FedEx Express Opens Solar-Powered Hub in Germany

FedEx Corp. subsidiary FedEx Express inaugurated a solar-powered hub yesterday at the Cologne Bonn Airport in Germany.

The new center serving Central and Eastern Europe is FedEx Express's second solar-powered hub and the fifth solar facility within FedEx Corp.

News of its launch was among the many announcements in the past month about solar projects, including installations for Massport Logan Airport, Macy's and solar parks in Canada.

GlaxoSmithKline celebrates a solar milestone today with the start of work on a 3-megawatt roof-mounted installation at the firm's distribution facility in York, Pa.

The FedEx Express hub in Cologne has a fully-automated sorting system that can process as many as 18,000 packages and documents an hour. The facility's rooftop solar power system covers 16,000 square meters and produces about 800,000 kilowatt hours a year. The installation is the largest at a FedEx Express site and is among the bigger roof-mounted arrays in the North Rhine-Westphalia region.

The five solar facilities within FedEx Corp. reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 3,918 metric tons, according to the company. Other recent FedEx sustainability efforts include the addition of all-electric delivery vehicles to fleets in Paris and Los Angeles.

In Massachusetts, two Massport Logan Airport terminals, Bridgewater State College, Worcester State College and the Canton Housing Authority will be the sites of rooftop solar projects as a result of agreements announced this month between Ameresco Inc. and the Massachusetts State Department of Energy Resources

Under the 20-year power purchase agreements, the five solar power systems -- which Ameresco will design, construct, finance, own, and operate  -- will have 560 kw of electricity capacity and generate 700,000 kwh of electricity annually. The installations will be equipped with advanced Internet-enabled measurement and monitoring systems, according to Ameresco. The host sites will be able to buy solar energy at discount.

Macy's reports that construction has begun on a 3.5-megawatt high-efficiency solar power system on the roof of its online fulfillment center in Goodyear, AZ. When it's completed in March 2011, the array will edge out the GlaxoSmithKline installation for bragging rights as the largest solar power system on a single rooftop in the United States. 

Macy's installation is expected to deliver the equivalent of 70 percent of the electricity needed by the 600,000-square-foot facility. The system is being designed and installed by SunPower, which will provide ongoing operations and maintenance services.

Macy's Inc. also said that SunPower recently completed a 1-megawatt rooftop solar power system at the department store's distribution center in City of Industry, CA. The system generates almost 50 percent of the electricity used by the facility. The City of Industry installation is the 37th Macy's facility to host a solar power array. The systems are helping the company move toward its goal of 15 percent to 25 percent more renewable energy sources by 2013. 

Other recent resource efficiency measures taken by Macy's include replacing about 117,000 traditional incandescent light bulbs in 86 stores with LED bulbs that use about 73 percent less energy. Energy savings are estimated at about 16,200 megawatts an hour every year, the equivalent of planting more than 65,500 trees. Macy's says it is the first department store company to implement the use of LED accent lighting on a wide scale.

The company also has eliminated bottled water for internal use in its offices. Instead, Macy's is providing water filtration units that workers can use to fill their own reusable containers. The company said it used more than 175,000 bottles of water in internal meetings and gatherings last year. By eliminating the bottled water, the company reduces its waste stream. By recycling, Macy's diverted more than 66 tons of waste from landfills last year. 

Sharp Electronics Corporation, the U.S. subsidiary of Sharp Corporation, will supply its thin film solar panels to two solar parks totaling 18.5 megawatts in Ontario, Canada. The solar parks are being developed under a joint venture between SunEdison and SkyPower Limited. Construction began in March on SunE Sky Norfolk I and II. The installations are expected to be completed this fall.

Other recent solar projects in the news include installations for the White House, NASA, the New York Jets, IKEA  and Clif Bar.

 Photo courtesy of FedEx Corp.