Logistics trends for renewable energy and solar power

The business world continues to move forward to the comprehensive use of renewable energy and the logistics sector is no exception. Solar energy has quickly become the favored solution for many logistics organizations due to low maintenance costs and lack of moving parts.

Solar energy is being employed across the transportation and logistics sector. For example, Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi built maritime vehicles carrier Emerald Ace in 2012.  Emerald Ace is equipped with a hybrid electric power supply system that combines a 160 kW solar generation system with lithium-ion batteries that can store 2.2MWh of electricity.   When the ship is berthed, the diesel-powered generator is completely shut down, and the lithium-ion batteries provide all the electricity it needs, resulting in zero emissions when docking at the piers.

Similarly, Indian Railways has begun using solar energy in railway transportation to reduce the carbon footprint of its trains.  The company has added solar panels to the upper part of its train coaches.  India Railways has also announced plans to install more trackside and static solar panels, with the aim of becoming the world’s first 100% green operator according to India’s minister of railways.

Solar energy plays a big role in operations facilities, as well.  For example, Amazon’s fulfillment centers, sorting centers and delivery stations around the globe are often 80% powered by on-site solar.

In the broader market context, Apple announced in July 2020 that it will become carbon neutral across its entire business, manufacturing supply chain, and product life cycle by 2030.  The company is moving its entire supply chain to cleaner power.

Apple’s commitment is already having a trickle-down effect on its suppliers.  Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., one of the largest semiconductor makers in the world, has committed to source 100% of its power, globally, from renewable sources.  The company’s goal for 2030 is to source 25% of power consumed by its fabrication plants from renewable energy, and 100% of other facilities’ power consumption.

The movement towards renewable energy continues and businesses in the logistics sector will either need to be proactive or be forced to catch up later.  Solar power, in particular, has is becoming more economical – now is a great time for logistics businesses to take action.

Published on September 30, 2020