NRG Energy Inc. and MGM Resorts International announced Oct. 23 the completed installation of the world’s largest rooftop solar array on a convention center. Covering approximately 20 acres atop the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, the 6.4 megawatt (MW dc) photovoltaic array will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of approximately 1,000 U.S. homes annually and is the first of its kind on the Las Vegas Strip.
In conjunction with the celebration, MGM Resorts and NRG also announced plans to build an additional 2 MW dc (1.5 MW ac) photovoltaic array atop a future expansion of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, scheduled to begin construction later this year.
“[This] marks a major milestone for MGM Resorts, NRG and the entire Las Vegas community,” said Jim Murren, chairman and CEO, MGM Resorts International. “The completion of this solar array demonstrates our steadfast commitment to the principles of environmental responsibility, and the announcement of the second array reinforces that we’re always looking to do more.”
Once completed, the combined solar installation is expected to provide pricing stability and reduce energy draw from the southern Nevada grid during the hottest time of the day, which is also peak electricity demand. The project is estimated to displace approximately 6,300 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the equivalent of taking more than 1,300 cars off the road.
“As one of the largest providers of renewable energy solutions in North America, we’re delighted to be the chosen partner of MGM Resorts to take this giant leap forward and join their longstanding legacy in environmental stewardship,” said Tom Doyle, president and CEO, NRG Renew. “NRG envisions a thriving, sustainable future powered by renewable energy. We look forward to continuing our partnership with MGM in bringing competitively priced, clean energy to Mandalay Bay through the second solar array of this project; further supporting their commitment to reducing energy costs.”
Nevada Senator and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid commended the project.
“Together, MGM Resorts and NRG are an excellent example of private sector companies working together to develop innovative technologies that protect our planet’s most precious resources,” said Senator Reid. “I applaud MGM and NRG for leading the way for other businesses to embrace environmental best practices, and demonstrating that it’s good for business.”
Sustainability remains one of the top priorities for resort officials.
“The rooftop solar installation at Mandalay Bay significantly advances our resort’s commitment to being a leading sustainable destination for conferences and conventions,” commented Chuck Bowling, president and COO, Mandalay Bay. “Partnering with a progressive company like NRG to achieve this milestone reinforces our commitment to promoting renewable energy and protecting the planet’s limited resources as supported by our Green Advantage sustainability initiative that has already decreased our energy load by over 14 percent since 2007.”
NRG financed, constructed, owns and operates the installation for MGM Resorts at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Mandalay Bay Resort will purchase all the electricity generated by both solar arrays.