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Author: Sophie Vorrath
Date: 25th of July 2016

A Las Vegas casino and hotel complex now boasts America’s largest rooftop solar array, after the expansion of an existing system created a “stunning” 8.3MW combined installation.

The massive system, pictured below, was installed by NRG Energy on the roof of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The building’s owner, MGM Resorts, announced its completion in the first week of July, and said it would now supply 25 per cent of the power needs of the entire Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino campus.

MGM, which operates several major hotels and casinos in Las Vegas, said that since completion of the first phase of the PV array in 2014, the solar had helped provide pricing stability for the company, while reducing the amount of electricity it drew from the southern Nevada grid during times of peak demand.

Interestingly, MGM has been noted as as a minor financial contributor to a consumer-driven campaign in Nevada that is proposing a constitutional amendment to open the state’s electricity markets to competition, as reported.

The initiative – which was also funded by fellow casino operator Las Vegas Sands, to the tune of $US500,000 (MGM donated $US10,000) – is being coordinated by the political action committee Nevadans for Affordable, Clean Energy Choices.

The proposed amendment seeks to abolish NV Energy’s electricity market monopoly and allow consumers to choose how they get their power by 2023, whether from a competitive retailer or by producing electricity for themselves or with others.

“MGM Resorts International has a long history of integrating environmentally responsible practices throughout our operations to help preserve the planet’s limited resources,” said the group’s senior vice president and chief sustainability officer, Cindy Ortega in a statement on July 7.

“Our continued partnership with NRG is a source of pride and inspires our desire to continually implement innovative solutions that promote renewable energy.”

For its part, NRG will own and operate the installation for MGM, and through a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Mandalay Bay Resort will purchase all the electricity generated by both solar arrays.

NRG Energy’s senior vice president, Craig Cornelius, said companies like MGM Resorts were driving the American energy evolution, by seeking cleaner sources of power and more certainty over costs.

“The solar array atop Mandalay Bay is stunning in its scope and functionality, and we’re thrilled to have MGM as a partner,” he said.

Read article at Reneweconomy