Monday, Oct. 31, 2011 | 6:59 p.m.
- Solar arrays bring CCSD $6.25 million (10-20-2011)
- Chinese energy company seeks more county land for ‘eco-city’ (9-19-2011)
- $6 billion news escapes some Laughlin residents, but not for long (7-6-2011)
- County backs proposed solar energy farm near Laughlin (7-5-2011)
- Solar project could be start of diversified economy (6-30-11)
- Deadlines may shelve renewable energy projects (6-25-2011)
- GOP fights funding for vital Nevada renewable projects (3-3-2011)
Nevada can be a leader in solar energy. And the city of Henderson wants solar manufacturers and developers to know that.
The city is hosting a two-day Global Solar Summit at the M Resort, with guests from solar power companies from China, Korea, Germany and other countries to look for ways to diversify the local economy and create jobs for Southern Nevadans in the solar industry.
The $75,000 conference was paid for by $700 per person registration costs, corporate sponsors at $3,000 each and $10,000 from Henderson economic development budget.
Bob Cooper, the city’s economic development manager, said the conference, the first of its kind in Nevada, is dedicated to getting leading companies in solar energy development to think of the valley as a frontier for the solar economy. He said currently there are no solar panel makers in the valley but that there is a potential for jobs in manufacturing and construction.
“We’re looking to help local businesses to secure new contracts and start initial conversations with panel manufacturers,” Cooper said.
“Each day we will have a 'Nevada commercial,'” he said, that will display the growth in Southern Nevada opportunities. “We’ll close with the incentives of expanding here.”
According to Donald B. Reid, moderator for the first panel at the summit, Nevada has a 30,000-megawatt potential for solar energy, which is equivalent to 30 nuclear power plants.
Clark County Commissioners Chair Susan Brager welcomed guests to the summit by highlighting the county’s current solar projects, adding that Southern Nevadan has an abundance of available land.
“The land is there,” said Brager. “Currently we’re working with ENN Solar Energy to build a manufacturing generation facility. There is approximately 5,100 acres outside of Laughlin. The manufacturing side will produce solar panels for residential and commercial.”
Another large scale solar projects sits outside of Prim, with a 600-acre, 400-megawatt solar project that is expected to start delivering power in 2013, she said.
But Nick Bullinger, COO at OCI Solar Power, a South Korean-based solar developer, said the solar power industry is still in its infancy and the drop in price per watt for a solar panel should reach its scale in the U.S.
“Initial commitments could actually be manufacturing within 12 months, but it requires a collaborative effort with the utilities, the state government and local government and the manufactures to pull together the entire business environment that would make it attractive,” Bullinger said.
Johnathan Pickering, president of JA Solar, the largest solar cell supplier in the world, said the combination of a growing solar industry and the steep decline in the price of a solar panel makes it an optimal time to invest in solar energy. Las Vegas, he said, gets twice the amount of sun hours as Germany, which is the center of solar energy production in Europe.
He extended an open invitation to Nevada.
“We’re open for business and we want to partner with you,” Pickering said.
At M Resort, locals reign supreme. Anthony Marnell III opened this casino with value in mind. With affordable drinks and meals and lots of incentives to play, it's no wonder why M has been a hit since it opened its doors in March 2009.
The property is decorated with dark wood, rich colors and amber-like light fixtures. Gaming offerings include more than 1,800 slot machines and 60 table games, as well as a poker room and race and sports book.
The resort houses 390 guest rooms, including 39 luxury suites. Designed with a modern and contemporary feel, M’s rooms feature dark wood, chrome fixtures and white linens, and are accented by blue or burgundy throws and pillows. Rooms boast floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the mountains or the Strip.
M dining options include Studio B, a show kitchen buffet; "twisted farm food" at Hash House a Go Go; Baby Cakes bakery; Anthony’s Burgers & Brews, serving gourmet burgers and fries; Vig Deli; Anthony’s Prime Steak & Seafood; Marinelli’s Authentic Italian Dishes; and the Hostile Grape Wine Cellar, where guests can taste more than 160 types of wine. Plus, 32° Draft has one of the largest beer selections in the valley, with 96 different beers on tap.
The four-star awarded, 23,000-square-foot Spa Mio offers a variety of treatments and services with saunas, Jacuzzis, 16 massage and facial rooms and a full-service salon and barbershop complete with built-in ESPN in the mirrors. Locals also receive 25 percent off all regular price services.
DayDream Pool Club heads up M's adult pool party scene offering the only locals pool party in the Valley.