The glitz and glamour of Las Vegas can only be matched by one feature: the size of things. The Nevada city is known for giant hotels, enormous buffet spreads, and—for the lucky few—big winnings. Now, Vegas is also known as the home to the nation’s largest rooftop solar array, which was installed atop the new expansion of the convention center at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The roof holds 26,000 individual solar panels that together produce approximately 25 percent of the energy the convention center uses.
The convention center installed the first part of its rooftop solar array in 2014, and a $70 million expansion to the venue was just added. The expansion created 350,000 square feet of additional event space, enabling the owner of the convention center, MGM Resorts International, to add eight acres of solar panels for a total of 28 acres in the array. Now that the entire array is complete, it will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 1,300 homes. The solar array’s energy production will also reflect the statewide goal of sourcing 25 percent of all energy from renewable sources.
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Fortune reports that the falling price of solar panels has made projects like this one more attractive because businesses can produce electricity for the same or less cost than buying grid power. Ironically, though, it isn’t likely that Mandalay Bay and the other casinos currently sporting rooftop solar arrays will disconnect from the grid completely, no matter how much energy they can produce on their own. That’s because the state’s regulators would charge the casinos tens of millions of dollars to do so, since the utilities rely so heavily on revenue from the busy tourist spots.
Images via Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino