The installation is intended to provide 80% of the electricity needs for the busy hub centre, with its peak 904kW output providing enough energy to power 900 homes. The system comprises 300,000 Sharp solar cells installed in 5769 photovoltaic modules that cover almost all of the 81,000 square foot roof area of the hub, providing insulation that reduces heating requirements and cooling costs.
In addition to reducing demand on the local power system, the system will feed surplus power into the grid for general use when energy generation exceeds the facility's needs. The solar installation was designed and constructed by PowerLight, a Berkeley-based manufacturer of large scale solar projects.
"The solar-electric system at our Oakland hub powers one of our major Fed Ex Express hubs, which handles more than 260,000 packages daily and serves as a major gateway for shipments to and from Asia," said Fed Ex international environment program managing director Mitch Jackson.
"This is one more example of how Fed Ex implements innovative yet practical solutions that are good for business and the environment."
Fed Ex was the first major US company to make a long-term commitment to use low-emission hybrid electric delivery trucks in 2000, and Fed Ex currently has the largest hybrid courier fleet in the US, with plans to have 75 more in use by the end of 2006.