22,000 Collectors of Sun on the Roof (Let’s Sing Along)

Imagine 22,000 Solar Photovoltaic (PV) modules on your roof capable of harvesting free sunlight to produce 6.7 MW of electrical power for the next 20-25 years.

If you visit the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas and ride their elevator to the top floor you can look out and not just imagine but actually see this new approach to today’s electrical power energy generation. Granted this is the Mojave Desert with plenty of sunshine, but the same solar collectors are used from Maine to Washington. Last year in cloudy Germany, there was one weekend when 50% of that country’s energy was provided by solar power illustrating they are well on their way to successfully carry out their plan for transitioning away from fossil fuel generated electricity by 2050.

Typically questions from the folks on this green energy tour included:

Q: How often do you have to wipe the desert dust off these things?
Ans: We haven’t had to clean them yet, but we planned to give them a cleaning once or twice a year if needed.

Q: Where were these solar modules made?
Ans: Arizona. By a company called Trina. (After a little research, it turns out that Trina is actually a Chinese company that has several American “distributors” including the one in Arizona.)

Q: What does NV Energy (the local utility company) think about this.
Ans: (The tour guide smiles politely as he formulates a diplomatic response). After a moment, the guide continues, “We are still friends. This solar system now generates 20% of the energy used by the combined Mandalay Bay Convention Center and Casino complex. But we have additional roof space so we are planning Phase 2 and Phase 3 that will expand the solar system. The design of Phase 2 & 3 is not complete, so we don’t know how many more modules we can add.”

Q: How are the solar modules held onto the roof?
Ans: Each module is bolted onto a rail system. Ballast (gravity) is used to hold the rail systems down on the roof. (This is similar to the solar array installation Gail & I visited on the roof of the IKEA store in Centennial, CO where no bolts are used – just ballast / weights. Using ballast eliminates the need to put holes through the rubber membrane that provides the weather seal for the flat roof.)

Q: Does each solar module have its own microinverter?
Ans: No. There are strings of solar modules and each string has an inverter.

After several more questions, we re-entered the glass enclosed elevator and glided down to the ground level to visit the Mandalay Bay recycling center where hundreds of tons of cans, bottles, paper, cardboard are recycled each year.

Mandalay Bay is trying to be more sustainable.

 


Dinosaurs 20 Snickers 8

“We have a choice tonight. A piece of candy or a dinosaur.” That was my response to the small costumed crowd chanting “Trick or Treat” on our front porch. “I love dinosaurs” was often the response and the clear winner tonight among the small “trick or treaters” dressed up as and pretending to be their favorite […]


Hot Air Balloon Ride: Part I The Experience

Everyone’s in Albuquerque. That was the response of our balloon pilot when we asked, “Why are we the only people using this hot air balloon launch site this morning?” A member of our chase crew this morning, quickly volunteered that on one occasion, 68 balloons launched in a Mass Ascension from this Chatfield site. As […]


Hot Air Balloon Ride: Part II The Journey

The journey to this place (the Montgolfier Balloon launch site) in this park (Chatfield State Park south of Denver) on this day in 2014 began back in 1997 when my wife, Kim, and I embarked on a road trip from Denver, CO to Cape Canaveral, FL to watch the October launch of NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft. […]


Solar Jam (II) – Appendix A The Pectin Story

  This is a continuation of a previous blog on Solar Jam.  Because I used a commercial form of pectin that was imported from Denmark, I decided to think about this some more and re-examine everyday life in search of a better path to sustainable living. Imported and Domestic Pectin Options I chose to use “commercial” pectin […]


Solar Jam (I) – Connection to Nature & Insight into Sustainable Living

Sometimes it’s the simple things that teach us clearly and touch us dearly. So I walk for less than a mile from our home and find myself on a gravel path along the Highline Canal, an abandoned farmer’s canal that in its heyday carried irrigation water from the Platte Canyon Reservoir 20 miles south of […]


Having your book on a bookstore shelf

Last Year About a year ago I ran across some advice for ‘wanna-be’ writers. One of the suggestions in this self-help book was: “Visit a local bookstore. Go to the section of the store where your book might be shelved. Envision your book on their shelf. ” So on our next trip to Barnes and […]


Is it getting easier to be green?

Holiday Cheers! First, my apologies to my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and all future generations. I purchased something this holiday season we  really didn’t have to have – certainly a questionable use of Earth’s finite resources. [ If the reader is in a hurry, just read the black text.  if you have more time read the […]


In honor of our veterans and their spouses

In honor of my father who served in WW II and my mother who remained home as an unsung military spouse. When he was 83, my father described this photo in his memoirs, “In March (1941) over my birthday, Mom and Dad, Thelma & Herb and Garnetta came down to Camp Shelby, Mississippi to visit […]


It’s about Isabella and putting a price on carbon

My (step) Great Granddaughter, Isabella Bright was born on 10 Sept 2013. Although music is not my strong suit, I’m sure angels were singing to welcome her appearance as the 7,141,518,710th human soul now living in our social network on planet Earth [Ref 1]. As a Great Grandfather, I’d be remiss not to ponder one of […]