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Las Vegas solar power booms for business, not so much for homes

Mandalay Bay solar power

Mandalay Bay solar power

Cox Communication in Las Vegas now powers much of their downtown data center with solar power, ditto for an auto auction subsidiary. In addition, MGM has 20 acres of solar photovoltaic panels of the roof of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. With the obvious advantages of rooftop solar, you’d think residential solar would be booming too, but no. NV Energy, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, has at least temporarily poleaxed that, because profits. You know Warren, right? He’s that supposedly kindly old folksy gent from Nebraska who unaccountably has a reputation for being different from the rest of the exploitative hedge fund pirates. Hopefully a ballot initiative will poleaxe him back.

An initiative petition to amend the state constitution to end the monopoly of NV Power is being circulated. Matt Griffin, attorney for Nevadans for Affordable Clean Energy Choices, said Friday he did not know how many signatures had been collected but he was confident the question would qualify for the ballot.

If passed during this election and again in 2018, the measure would permit other electric companies to apply to serve Nevadans.

Back to the business solar installations and upgrades.

The two arrays actually went online several months ago. They have been shouldering about 65 percent of the power load for Cox Communication’s downtown data center and about 62 percent of the load for Manheim Nevada’s operation, project engineers said. On a long day of intense sun like Monday, that output jumps to more like 80 percent at the Cox data center.

Meanwhile across town, MGM Resorts is getting ready to power up an expansion of its solar array atop the Mandalay Bay convention center, which is being touted as the largest rooftop solar field in the nation.

With the addition of about 5,000 photovoltaic panels set to go online by the end of the month, the entire project covers about 20 acres of roof and can produce up to 8.3 megawatts of electricity when the sun shines.

“That’s about as much as you need to power Monte Carlo at full peak,”

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