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Are Apple And Mandalay Bay's Solar Projects A Sign Of The Future?


Brian Duggan, City Reporter, Las Vegas Review Journal

Cindy Ortega, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainablity Officer, MGM

Rose McKinney-James, Managing Principal, Energy Works Consulting and McKinney-James & Associates

Todd Michaels, NRG

BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- The collapse of the deal to build a massive solar plant on County-owned land near Laughlin left many to wonder what's next for Southern Nevada's solar portfolio. Two new projects, one for the Apple database in Lyon County and one on Mandalay Bay on the Strip seem to indicate that the dream to make Nevada the “Saudi Arabia of Solar” is alive.

The projects aren’t small in scope.

“When you drive around Las Vegas neighborhoods and see some that have these solar arrays on them – jut picture one that’s 20 acres large, says Cindy Ortega, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer at MGM of a solar installation on top of the conference center at Mandalay Bay resort.

Ortega says the move to add solar to MGM’s energy mix is not about “Why?” it’s about “Finally.”

“(Solar) has been an important part of our strategy in terms of diversifying here in Las Vegas,” says Ortega. “It comes down to what’s the best position to make the array most efficient. When you have 20 acres sitting right in the sunlight, that’s a pretty good start.”

Meanwhile Apple is planning a 137-acre solar energy array for its new database in Lyon County.

“It’s expected to produce about 43.5 megawatts a year ... it’s going to be a fairly large project,” says Brian Duggan, who is covering the story for the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Although Apple has mostly been secretive about the details surrounding the new datacenter, we do know that the solar panels will have benefit beyond the database campus.

“It’s part of a new NV Energy program that will allow Apple to essentially sell renewable energy back to the grid,” says Duggan.


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