Las Vegas officials will celebrate completion of one of the largest solar panel projects for a city government in the western United States during a ceremony at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 18, at 6321 E. Vegas Valley Drive. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman, City Manager Betsy Fretwell and others will flip a switch to signify that the 15,000 ground-mounted solar panels are now generating power from the sun, saving taxpayer money on energy bills.
The more than 15,000 solar panels are expected to generate approximately 6 million kilowatt-hours of energy annually, which will power up to 20 percent of the electrical needs of the nearby Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF). This is equal to the amount of energy needed to power 300 homes annually. Energy savings at the WPCF are important because it accounts for about a third of the city’s total power bill. The other two thirds are divided between streetlights/signals and city buildings.
The solar panel project is a part of the city’s Sustainability Initiative that, together with energy retrofits of city facilities and streetlights and installation of solar panels at various city-owned locations, will save more than $2.5 million per year in energy costs
The $19.7 million project was funded by the Sanitary Sewer Enterprise fund, which comes from a combination of sewer-user fees and development connection fees. These funds are used for the operation and maintenance of the wastewater treatment facility and the sewer collection system.
The project will benefit the city by providing a green energy source. It will also benefit anyone who pays city of Las Vegas sewer fees by stabilizing the cost of power needed to run the city’s wastewater treatment facility. The WPCF is the city’s primary location to treat wastewater, and handles approximately 45 million gallons of wastewater per day.
Other city governments in the western United States have built solar panels projects, but this is believed to be one of the biggest for a municipality at 25 acres.