Home » Amazon’s KY solar energy farms spark $159M in new investment

Amazon’s KY solar energy farms spark $159M in new investment

5 solar projects in state expected to generate 915 gigawatt-hours of energy
Some of the solar energy installation at the Amazon Air Hub at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport.

ERLANGER, Ky. — Amazon released new economic data today that demonstrates how the company’s solar energy farms in Kentucky have generated hundreds of millions of dollars in investment and new GDP for local communities and the state economy.

Amazon’s commitment to buy electricity produced by utility-scale renewable energy projects in Kentucky generated an estimated $159 million in economic investment and contributed $75 million to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) from 2014 through 2022. It also supported an estimated 520 full-time equivalent jobs in Kentucky in 2022 alone.[1]

Amazon has a total of five solar energy projects in Kentucky, and once fully operational, the projects are expected to generate more than 915 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of clean energy, which is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power roughly 86,000 U.S. homes each year.

Globally, Amazon’s wind and solar farms helped generate $12.6 billion in investments and contributed more than $5.4 billion in global GDP over the same timeframe, supporting 39,000 jobs in 2022.

“As part of our efforts to make Amazon a more resilient, sustainable business, we’ve supported hundreds of solar and wind projects globally, resulting in more than $12 billion of investment and tens of thousands of jobs in the communities where our customers live and work,” said Amazon Vice President of Worldwide Sustainability Kara Hurst. “As we progress toward powering our operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025, Amazon will continue to provide new sources of clean energy to local grids and build the clean energy economy.”

One way Amazon is helping generate economic activity around its solar and wind projects is using long-term contracts known as Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Through these financial agreements, Amazon makes commitments to buy the electricity produced by the future renewable energy projects, which allow wind and solar farm developers to raise funds, purchase equipment, and construct the projects without direct costs to local energy users.

These PPAs also generate economic activity in the communities where the projects are located, resulting in workers being hired to help manage the projects, and increasing business at nearby hotels, restaurants, and retail stores. For example, near Amazon’s Turkey Creek solar project in Garrard County, Kentucky, sheep rancher Daniel Bell is partnering with the solar farm’s operators to graze his sheep under the solar panels and keep vegetation from overgrowing. Due to the arrangement, Bell is now planning to triple the size of his flock to nearly 1,000 sheep and expecting to turn his part-time farm into a fulltime, multi-generation operation.

Amazon is the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in Kentucky and worldwide, according Bloomberg New Energy Finance. As of the end of 2022, 90% of the electricity Amazon used to power its operations was from renewable energy resources and the company is on a path to power its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025.

Amazon has invested more than $27 billion in Kentucky since 2010, including infrastructure and compensation to its employees. The company’s local operations currently include the Air Hub, 12 fulfillment and sortation centers, four delivery stations, and two Whole Foods Market locations.

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