Energy Procurement, Utilities, Commercial, Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  July 6, 2016

MGM Resorts, NRG complete nation's largest rooftop solar installation

MGM Resorts International, in partnership with NRG Energy Inc., has completed an expansion of a massive rooftop solar installation at  the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. 

The expanded solar array  has more than 26,000 photovoltaic panels and produces a combined 8.3 MW dc, or 6.5 MW ac, of electricity, a new national record for rooftop arrays, according to July 6 joint news release from the companies. At full production, the system supplies 25% of the power demand of the entire Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino campus.

MGM Resorts said since completion of the first phase in 2014, the project has helped provide pricing stability while also reducing the amount of energy drawn from the southern Nevada grid during times of peak electricity demand. MGM Resorts is one of two major Las Vegas casinos that recently committed to stop purchasing its electricity from the local utility, NV Energy, which is a subsidiary of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. 

NRG Energy owns and operates the installation for MGM Resorts at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino; Mandalay Bay Resort will purchase all the electricity generated by the solar arrays through a 25-year power purchase agreement.

"MGM Resorts International has a long history of integrating environmentally responsible practices throughout our operations to help preserve the planet's limited resources,"  MGM Resorts Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer Cindy Ortega said in the release. "Our continued partnership with NRG is a source of pride and inspires our desire to continually implement innovative solutions that promote renewable energy."

The expanded project uses technology from Ten K Solar, and uses the company's racking system with no roof penetrations. The racking system uses 3M's "Cool Mirror Film" to reflect only the light wavelengths usable by the photovoltaic cells, and the architecture further eliminates any single points of failure, increasing total system availability and reducing operation and maintenance costs, according to the news release.

"Companies like MGM Resorts are driving an evolution in America's energy mix as they seek cleaner sources of power that provide more certainty over energy costs," Craig Cornelius, Senior Vice President of NRG Energy and head of NRG's renewables group said in the release. "The solar array atop Mandalay Bay is stunning in its scope and functionality, and we're thrilled to have MGM as a partner.

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