NRG And Solar EnergyWhile NRG is still heavily invested in coal and natural gas power plants, the company has been aggressively pursuing utility scale solar energy projects. It’s one of the developers behind the gigantic Agua Caliente and Ivanpah solar projects, both of which happen to be in the Department of Energy’s portfolio of showcase solar loan guarantees (more on that later).
Agua Caliente and Ivanpah have the advantage in size, but they’re way out in the desert. In terms of public profile NRG gets more clean cred mileage from some of its modestly scaled solar energy projects on buildings and sports facilities, and that’s where things start to get interesting.
When people are exposed to solar energy where they work and play, then it becomes part of the daily landscape whether or not they have any particular interest in alternative energy. The naysayers can continue to beat up on solar in the abstract, but that’s not going to have much of an impact on people who are becoming habituated to solar in their lives.
So to catch up, later this month NRG is celebrating the completion of a 6.2 MW solar array on the rooftop of MGM Resorts’ Mandalay Bay Resort Convention Center. Plans are already in the works to add another 2 MW for an expansion of the facility, which is currently under construction.
NRG is also transforming the formerly named Reliant Stadium (home of the Houston Texans) into a showcase for its clean tech projects, under its new moniker NRG Park. How’s that for a shot across the bows for the fossil industry?
So far the plans call for solar energy in the form of NRG’s “Haven Solar Canopies” for a total of 700 solar panels, LED lighting, and NRG’s eVgo EV charging stations. NRG has recently hooked up eVgo in a free charging deal with Nissan LEAF, so look for that business to expand, too.
Other sports fans are being exposed to NRG clean tech include the 49ers (Levi Stadium), and that Washington, DC football team that will shortly be changing its name, we predict (FedEx Stadium).
The loan is in support of Cool Planet’s first ever commercial scale plant, which will be located at the Port of Alexandria in Louisiana.