NRG, MGM Resorts expand big rooftop solar project in Las Vegas

NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) and MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) on July 6 announced the completed expansion of the nation’s largest rooftop solar array, which is on the roof of 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) (6.5 MW ac). At full production, the system supplies 25% of the power demand of the entire Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino campus.  

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,” said 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.”

“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,” said 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 expanded project uses 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. 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. The architecture further eliminates any single points of failure, increasing total system availability and reducing operation  and maintenance costs.

NRG owns and operates this installation for MGM Resorts. Through a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Mandalay Bay Resort will purchase all the electricity generated by both solar arrays.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.