Environmental advocates petition FedEx to ‘go solar’

Media Contacts
Johanna Neumann

Senior Director, Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy, Environment America Research & Policy Center

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Advocates from Environment America Research & Policy Center on Thursday urged FedEx to take a leadership role in the U.S. transition to renewable energy sources by committing to generating solar power. At an event outside FedEx world headquarters, the advocates delivered a petition signed by more than 11,500 people urging the shipping leader to commit to putting solar panels on its warehouses and parking lots by 2035. 

“Rooftop solar is where Now Meets Next,” said Johanna Neumann, senior director of the Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy at Environment America Research & Policy Center. “FedEx can help lead the way towards a cleaner, greener future by committing to use its big, sunny warehouse roofs to harness solar power.” 

According to the report Solar on Warehouses, if all of America’s warehouse roofs had solar panels, they could produce enough energy to power more than 19 million average homes. Yet, most American warehouses don’t have solar panels.

FedEx owns and operates more than 5,000 facilities with at least 122 million square feet of rooftop space. Using the same methodology as it used for the report Solar on Warehouses, researchers at Environment America Research & Policy Center determined that if FedEx maximized the solar potential of its roofs, the company’s rooftop solar arrays could provide 61% of the electricity the company purchased in 2021. 

FedEx has made some clean energy and climate commitments. The company has committed to carbon neutrality by 2040, has plans to electrify its vehicle fleet by 2040, and has 29 solar installations in place already producing power. But in a review of FedEx’s publicly available documents, researchers were unable to find explicit goals or plans for renewable energy or rooftop solar atop FedEx facilities. 

“Every warehouse without solar panels on its roof is a missed opportunity,” said Neumann.

Rooftop solar infrastructure is key to America generating more clean energy in the future. These distributed panels can increase renewable electric power while protecting ecologically important open spaces and helping to make communities more resilient to power grid disruptions — which are likely to become more frequent as extreme weather events intensify and become more common.

Rooftop solar panels are widely popular, according to a poll conducted in March 2023 by the Benenson Strategy Group. Eighty-six percent of U.S. adults said they would welcome rooftop solar panels in their community. 

“FedEx is an undisputed industry leader. With leadership comes responsibility,” said Emily Mason, clean energy advocate at Environment America Research & Policy Center. “We’re here to shine a spotlight on FedEx’s golden solar opportunity and to encourage them to embrace it.”