Environmental Sustainability: Solar Success, MGM Resorts International and NRG Energy Celebrate the Installation of the World’s Largest Convention Center Solar Array | November 2014 CSR Newsletter
Three months, 20 acres, and 21,000 solar panels.
In October MGM Resorts International celebrated the completion of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center rooftop solar array, built in partnership with energy company NRG. A gathering Thursday at the miX lounge on Delano’s top floor gave attendees a bird’s eye view of one of the largest rooftop solar arrays anywhere in the world. Notable speakers included Mandalay Bay President Chuck Bowling and Nevada Senator Harry Reid.
“What we’re doing here today is truly transformational,” said Mr. Bowling. “We’ve been very focused on sustainability for quite some time, and this helps show everyone that we are putting a stake in the ground.”
Senator Reid talked about his love of Nevada and his appreciation for the Company’s efforts to help create a more sustainable environment.
“What a great corporation we have here in Nevada with MGM Resorts,” said Senator Reid. “I will continue to put my full support behind this Company. Nevada is proving that lots can be done with renewable energy and MGM Resorts understands that.”
Senator Reid was not the only public official impressed by the project, one of the largest commercial solar arrays in the country. U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz also toured the array, walking a portion of the 20-acre Convention Center rooftop, now completely covered with dark glass panels. The Secretary was in town attending a national solar power conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center and made a side trip to Mandalay Bay just to see the project up close. Grant money from the Department of Energy’s 1603 program, part of the administration’s economic stimulus package, helped NRG fund a portion of the rooftop array.
“The Department of Energy is helping to fund solar projects because solar power aligns so well with our national energy plan,” Mr. Moniz said. “We have three objectives when it comes to energy: strengthen the economy by creating jobs; improve national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil; and help the environment by reducing carbon emissions. Solar power addresses all three of those objectives.”
NRG will own and operate the solar array and MGM Resorts will purchase the electricity it produces at a cost below what it would otherwise pay for that power. The array is expected to produce as much as 20 percent of the resort’s electricity on sunny days.
“The great thing about solar power is that the panels produce the most electricity during the hottest part of the day, which is also the time of day when electricity is most expensive,” said Chief Sustainability Officer Cindy Ortega. “We’re offsetting costs during those peak hours. We think this marks the beginning of a series of arrays that will show up in Las Vegas on rooftops around the city.”
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