Vegas’ scorching climate has always been a promising backdrop to solar power, and city authorities are warming to this. Late November saw the Nevada Public Utilities Commission approve three new solar plants for Vegas, according to a report by NBC 3 News, a move which will see solar power capacity in the region expanded by 478 megawatts. Vegas clearly has a lot to gain from these types of developments, but the city has some way to go yet.
The electricity question
With over half a million residents and a main strip famous for its awe-inspiring light shows, Las Vegas is a location with the potential for making great use of solar energy applications. Given solar power’s primary conversion into electrical energy, and the huge amount of sun days in the city – 310 in total – there’s a lot to be gained. However, this potential has not necessarily been harnessed. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Las Vegas continues to be powered largely by natural gas, with renewables including solar only making up 26% of the picture. Part of this is due to the question of time of day – at night, when Las Vegas really gets going with activity and lighting, solar power isn’t on hand to help, due to poor storage solutions.
Addressing the question
The new developments highlighted by NBC 3 have a particular strength to them – they’re capable of storing huge amounts of power during the evening, meaning that generation doesn’t have to be used to power during the day. Storage solutions, referred to as the ‘holy grail’ of solar tech by Forbes Council contributors, create conditions where solar power is useful not just during the day, but at night as well. This has huge implications for Vegas, which thrives on that night time electricity.
A forward look
With this technology in hand, there are reasons to be excited about Vegas and its renewable energy outlook. Things are simply getting better. When considering the huge amount of power being harnessed, and the fact that new renewables are continuing to come into play like the various wind projects in progress by the city, Vegas has a good outlook in the clean energy game.
While Vegas and its glamor has lagged behind on wider renewable standards, this is changing. Technology is enabling the city and its lights to seek new clean energy heights, and this is good news for residents and the whole country.