Across the United States, home and business owners are finding new ways to power their facilities. For the casino industry, many operators are looking to renewable energy sources as a way to lower cost as well as decrease their carbon footprint. Just this week, MGM Resorts International announced a 3,000 solar panel canopy installation for their Springfield property, with the installation placed on the parking garage of the facility earlier this month.
MGM announced in early 2019 that they had partnered with General Electric via their GE Solar Massachusetts subsidy to install the project. The canopy can provide over 1,600 megawatt hours of electricity once it is online. The unit is expected to be operational in the next month. The electricity produced will be able to power around 10% of the property.
The new canopy should reduce the Springfield casino’s carbon footprint by 410 metric tons of CO2e each year.
MGM Springfield was the first casino to ever be given LEED platinum certification. The goal is to promote environmental sustainability via the business. Back in 2011, a casino law in the state required the Gaming Commission to consider an operators efforts in earning gold certification or higher via the LEED program when reviewing licensing applications.
MGM Resorts has plans to move their renewable energy efforts beyond Massachusetts. In 2018, the gaming operator partnered with Invenergy of Chicago to create a 100 megawatt solar array just north of Las Vegas. This facility should be ready to function by the end of next year. The solar array will have 336,000 solar panels located on approximately 640 acres of land. The amazing infrastructure will be able to power around 27,000 homes in one year.
MGM will then purchase the energy produced via the facility and use it to help power their Las Vegas Strip casino resorts. When the project was announced in 2018, CEO of MGM, Jim Murren, stated that protecting the planet is a business imperative for the company and it is their responsibility to find ways to use clean energy to power their resorts.
Climate Change Debate
As the debate regarding climate change continues, large companies like MGM Resorts International are making the switch to renewable energy resources like solar energy. As the Trump administration is in power, certain steps towards fighting climate change have essentially walked backward. Despite the new administration’s efforts to stop working on renewable energy resources, companies are making the switch.
According to the solar industry in the United States, in 2018, 10.6 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity was installed. The Solar Energy Industries Association has reported that the total amount of solar options installed in the US is set to more than double within a five year time frame. The next decade should be one of significant growth as more businesses look to solar energy for their power needs.