Etsy to power Brooklyn headquarters with solar, launches pilot to increase solar use by its sellers - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  May 5, 2016

Etsy to power Brooklyn headquarters with solar, encourages sellers to follow suit

E-commerce website Etsy recently announced a series of initiatives intended to increase the use of solar energy, both within its business and throughout its community of members.

Part of the Brooklyn-based company's goal of transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2020 and building a "thriving, carbon neutral marketplace," Etsy outlined four initiatives in its news blog April 21 including powering its headquarters with 100% local solar power. The company is using on-site solar at its DUMBO headquarters as well as off-site solar arrays located in Brownsville, Brooklyn, through a remote net metering arrangement.

The remote net metering strategy, which is particularly helpful for sites in cities like New York that have limited space to deploy solar but abundant onsite load to benefit from systems installed at a more suitable location, is also being used by Bloomberg LP. The company in September 2015 announced that its global headquarters in midtown Manhattan and its downtown data center would soon be partially powered by solar from a massive installation across three logistics facilities in Queens.

Etsy also announced the launch of a pilot program intended to help offset carbon emissions associated with the shipping of goods between its sellers and buyers. Etsy's senior energy and carbon specialist Chelsea Mozen wrote:

We’ve partnered with online solar marketplace Geostellar to launch a new pilot program called Etsy Solar. Through this program, members of the Etsy community in Florida, New York, West Virginia, and Utah are eligible to have solar panels installed at their homes or studios at a discount. Pending the results of the pilot, we hope to expand the program to more locations.

Sellers who install solar panels can choose to keep or transfer their associated carbon reductions to Etsy. If they choose the latter, Etsy says it will use those reductions to create Gold Standard verified offsets against its marketplace shipping emissions. The program, Etsy says, is the first of its kind to use rooftop solar to generate offsets for a single project. 

The company also provided updates on its efforts to use renewable energy at its data centers, and said it has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2020 through the New York City Carbon Challenge.

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