Environment America launches campaign urging FedEx to ‘go solar’

Media Contacts
Johanna Neumann

Senior Director, Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy, Environment America

BOSTON — On the summer solstice, the day with the longest-lasting sun in the Northern Hemisphere, Environment America is helping make sure America doesn’t squander the potential of warehouse roofs for solar energy generation. The group launched a campaign Wednesday urging FedEx to develop a plan to install solar panels on the large, flat, sunny roofs of its facilities.

In a letter sent to FedEx CEO Raj Subramaniam on June 8, Johanna Neumann, the senior director of Environment America’s Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy, wrote, “With its 5,000+ facilities offering millions of square feet of sunny rooftop space, FedEx is sitting on a golden solar opportunity.”

The campaign launch comes two months after Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group released a report on the largely untapped rooftop solar potential of America’s warehouses and distribution centers. Following the release of the report, researchers at Frontier Group analyzed some corporate commitments to rooftop solar, including FedEx’s. The researchers found that although FedEx has a written goal of being carbon neutral by 2040 and the company’s ESG report says it is “’pursuing on-site renewable energy,” they were unable to find explicit solar goals or plans. 

Environment America is urging FedEx to make a public commitment to building rooftop solar and implement plans to reach its goals. The group is encouraging FedEx to install solar infrastructure on all viable roofs and parking lots no later than 2035 and, ideally, require or incentivize companies FedEx does business with to commit to rooftop solar as well. 

FedEx’s rooftops have a lot of space that could be used for solar. The company has more than 5,000 facilities with at least 122 million square feet (2,820 acres) of building area. Using the same methodology as the Solar on Warehouses report, researchers at Frontier Group calculated that the company could provide 61% of the electricity that FedEx purchased in FY21. 

If FedEx installed solar panels on its facilities, it could turn that solar power into electricity to power not only buildings but also its growing fleet of electric vehicles. FedEx plans to convert all of its parcel pickup and delivery fleet to electric by 2040. 

“Putting solar on warehouses and electrifying vehicle fleets are clean energy solutions that embody FedEx’s motto of ‘where now meets next,’” said Neumann. “If FedEx takes full advantage of its existing space, it will be a leader not just in shipping, but in harnessing the rays of the sun to produce electricity.”

Environment America and its network of 30 state organizations are organizing members of the public to sign a petition to FedEx urging it to ‘go solar,’ and raise the visibility of its solar plans and progress. 

“To avoid or delay the worst effects of climate change, we urgently need to transition to clean, renewable energy,” said Neumann. “Now is the time for high-profile companies such asFedEx, with lots of rooftop space, to install solar generation capacity on their facilities and throughout their operations.”

FedEx did not respond to a request for more details about its goals or plans.