NRG Energy Inc. and MGM Resorts International have completed a 2.1 MW expansion of a massive solar project on the roof of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. Combined with a previously installed, 6.2 MW first phase, the expanded solar project now has more than 26,000 photovoltaic panels and produces 8.3 MW of electricity, which the companies are hailing as a new national record for rooftop arrays. At full production, the system supplies 25% of the power demand of the entire Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino campus.
It is projected that the expanded solar installation will displace approximately 8,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, the equivalent of taking more than 1,700 automobiles off the road. The electricity produced is also equivalent to the average annual usage of 1,340 U.S. homes. Since completion of the first phase in 2014, the project has helped provide pricing stability for MGM Resorts while reducing the amount of energy drawn from the southern Nevada grid during times of peak electricity demand.
“MGM Resorts International has a long history of integrating environmentally responsible practices throughout our operations to help preserve the planet’s limited resources,” says Cindy Ortega, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer of MGM Resorts International. “Our continued partnership with NRG is a source of pride and inspires our desire to continually implement innovative solutions that promote renewable energy.”
Chuck Bowling, president and chief operating officer of Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino adds, “The expansion of our rooftop solar installation at Mandalay Bay significantly advances our resort’s commitment to being a leading sustainable destination for conferences and conventions. Utilizing energy produced from a renewable resource is a cornerstone of our comprehensive strategy of sustainable operations.”
“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,” comments Craig Cornelius, senior vice president of NRG Energy and head of NRG’s renewables group. “The solar array atop Mandalay Bay is stunning in its scope and functionality, and we’re thrilled to have MGM as a partner.”
The second phase of the project consists of technology from Ten K Solar. Ten K’s REFLECT system consists of 4,644 modules, 180 inverters and a fully integrated Ten K racking system with no roof penetrations. According to NRG, the racking system uses 3M Cool Mirror Film to reflect only the light wavelengths usable by the photovoltaic cells. Ten K’s parallel cell and module architecture allows for modules to capture non-uniform irradiance coming from reflected light. NRG says this architecture further eliminates any single points of failure, increasing total system availability and reducing operation and maintenance costs.
NRG owns and operates the installation for MGM Resorts at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Through a 25-year power purchase agreement, Mandalay Bay Resort will buy all the electricity generated by both solar arrays.
Photos courtesy of NRG Energy