UPS plans to expand its use of solar energy nearly five-fold this year, by adding 26,000 solar panels to its 2,580 facilities throughout the world.
The renewable energy expansion project will cost the shipping firm about $18 million; it will begin with at least eight buildings in the U.S.
Increasing the use of renewable energy has become a targeted goal of Fortune 500 companies, and with good reason. As early as 2014, more than half of Fortune 100 companies collectively saved $1.1 billion in energy costs by rolling out renewable energy programs, according to a study.
UPS began installing solar power in 2004 at its Palm Springs, Calif. facility; since then, the company has expanded solar to its facilities in Lakewood, Parsippany and Secaucus, N.J. Overall, UPS said, it has invested more than $750 million in alternative-fuel and advanced-technology vehicles and in fueling stations globally since 2009. In 2014, UPS said, it saved nearly $200 million from its renewable energy program.
Once the new solar is installed, UPS's own solar power generating capacity will increase by about 10 megawatts, or enough electricity to power about 1,200 U.S. homes annually. The expanded solar portfolio is expected to reduce carbon emissions by approximately 8,200 metric tonnes per year, the company said.
"Solar technology is a proven way to effectively and efficiently provide long-term power to our facilities," Bill Moir, director of facilities procurement for UPS, said in a statement. "We have a significant number of facilities that are well positioned to deploy solar at scale and increase our sustainable energy options for our buildings and electric vehicles."