Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay bets on the sure thing – the Sunny Tripower

This post was originally published in 2015. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

Mandalay Bay Las Vegas with Sunny Tripowers

The Mandalay Bay Resort Convention Center in Las Vegas is now home to the world’s second-largest rooftop PV array, an impressive 6.4 MW (DC). In a city synonymous with high rollers and higher stakes, Mandalay Bay and its parent company, MGM, knew solar was the best bet in town.

Manadalay Bay solar with Sunny Tripowers

Sunny Tripowers wait to be installed on the roof of the Mandalay Bay Resort Convention Center.

The convention center’s 20 acres of open roof offered a prime location for solar power. Once covered with more than 21,000 modules, the system’s peak generating capacity will offset 20 percent of the resort’s power demand. The system’s energy production is equivalent to powering 1,000 homes annually and is the first of its kind on the Las Vegas Strip.

Solar: The good gamble

MGM partnered with NRG, the nation’s largest independent power producer, to bring the system to life. It features a decentralized design, with more than 200 roof-mounted Sunny Tripowers converting the DC energy to AC to help power the gambling floor. The decentralized inverter layout made for optimal design capabilities, covering all 20 acres of space and taking advantage of the dual MPP trackers within each inverter for maximum energy production.

Additionally, the Sunny Tripower’s 15-degree mounting capability means the system is hidden from street view, while also not sacrificing the valuable space otherwise needed for ground-mounted central inverters. There is no other city where a building’s appearance matters more; thanks to the Sunny Tripower, the Mandalay Bay looks no different, but for those in the know it’s a powerful improvement.

Mandalay Bay solar with Sunny Tipowers

The Mandalay Bay’s solar system basks in the same Las Vegas sunlight as pool-side guests.

An oasis of solar

Crowded sidewalks and packed casinos presented immense logistical challenges: delivering modules, inverters, racking and countless feet of PV wire and conduit without disrupting business operations. In a city that never slows, getting large volumes of equipment delivered and placed on the roof for installation made the nimble Sunny Tripower an even more attractive solution.

Once on the roof, the installation team fought through long days of brutal heat under the desert sun. Work on the system started in July, one of the hottest months of the year for Las Vegas, running through October before commissioning.

More solar to come

Immediately after completion, a second phase was announced for 2 MW (DC) in conjunction with the expansion of the convention center. Construction is scheduled for this year, bringing the system total to an incredible 8.4 MW (DC) by the end of 2015.

Once the second phase is completed, the entire system is estimated to save 6,300 metric tons of carbon emissions annually, the equivalent of removing 1,300 cars from the road. We’d say this was a gamble well worth taking.

Click here for a system case study.

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