A year and a half ago, MGM Resorts made a big splash by paying $87 million to officially break up with NV Energy and begin buying its own power on the wholesale market. This was part of a wave of defections by power-hungry Las Vegas casinos from the utility, and MGM specifically cited its desire to purchase more renewable energy.
Today MGM Resorts announced a major step towards making that promise a reality, with the announcement that it will contract with Invenergy to build a 100 MW solar project in Nevada to power its casinos and resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.
The MGM-Invenergy Solar Project is planned for public land managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Land Management 25 miles north of Las Vegas. The plant will be sited on 640 acres of the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone, one of the zones set aside for renewable energy production under a process that DOI started under the Obama Administration.
Invenergy plans to complete the plant by the end of 2020, and the project is expected to meet 90% of the electricity demand for MGM’s 13 properties on the Las Vegas Strip, including the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Circus Circus Las Vegas, and the Bellagio, Mirage, Aria and MGM Grand resorts.
This is not MGM’s first foray into solar. In 2016 the company completed an expansion of the solar project on the roof of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to 8.3 MW, as the largest contiguous rooftop solar array in the United States.