Nevada sees solar boom but challenges lie ahead

While solar power generates only a small portion of the energy consumed in the United States, it's one of the fastest growing sources, averaging a 50% increase each year over the past decade. Visitors from around the world may recognize the lights of the Las Vegas Strip, but it's the energy from high above people feel most. Especially in summer, when daily temperatures top 100 degrees "There have been so many references to Nevada being the Saudi Arabia of solar," says NV Energy Vice President Tony Sanchez. "And I think this is largely reflective of the fact that we have so much open space here." With almost 300 sunny days per year, NV Energy's Tony Sanchez says solar farms are booming, and not just in the open desert. "Go take a look at the rooftop of Mandalay Bay, the convention center," offers Sanchez. "Largest solar array in Nevada on a rooftop and one of the largest in the world." Tom Perrigo is Executive Director of Community Development for the City of Las Vegas and has been in charge of a transition to solar power over the past decade. "Between these solar panels out front there are about 90 kilowatts," says Perrigo on the steps of City Hall, surrounded by towers topped with panels. "About another 100 KW on the roof, and about 300KW on top of the parking garage. So the city facilities are generating a lot of solar power."

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