Mandalay Bay plans large solar array

Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas will soon be home to one of the largest contiguous rooftop solar photovoltaic arrays in the world. NRG Solar will install the 6.2-megawatt system. 

It will be MGM Resort’s first commercial solar project in the United States and will generate enough electricity to power 1,000 homes, a press release said. MGM Resorts International operates other destination resort brands including the Bellagio, MGM Grand and the Mirage.

MGM Resorts chose Mandalay Bay for the new solar array due to its expansive sun-oriented rooftop, which spans about 20 acres. NRG Solar will custom design and develop the project. Mandalay Bay will buy the energy created by the array through a power purchase agreement.

At peak production the rooftop array will produce about 20 percent of Mandalay Bay’s power needs.

MGM Resorts announced the project at a news conference featuring Sen. Harry Reid and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell in advance of the National Clean Energy Summit 6.0 which will be held Aug. 13 at Mandalay Bay.

"Integrating environmentally responsible practices throughout our operations has been a key pillar in MGM Resorts’ strategic sustainability plan, said Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International in a press release."Partnering with NRG Solar to install the solar rooftop at Mandalay Bay highlights a major milestone in our efforts to promote renewable energy and reduce our consumption of the planet’s limited resources.”

Construction of the project will begin once several other projects at Mandalay Bay are finished, said Jeff Holland, director of communications with NRG in an email interview. The finish date will be determined once a start date is picked, he said.

MGM Resorts has made strides to reduce its natural resource consumption. In the past five years its reduced its energy intensity by more than 12 percent and saved more than 2.5 billion gallons of water, a press release said. NRG Solar has more than 2,000 MW of photovoltaic and solar thermal projects in operation under construction or in development in the southwestern United States.

 In addition to MGM’s desire to act as an environmental steward, the solar panels are a smart business decision, said Tom Doyle, president and CEO of NRG Solar in the press release. It will effectively enable the resort to lock in some energy costs at competitive rates. The company, Doyle said, expects other corporations will follow MGM Resorts’ example.