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Tuesday, July 22, 2014
News Release

Contact: Erik Pappa 
Phone: (702) 455-3548 
Email: EPappa@ClarkCountyNV.gov 
Wednesday, January 08, 2014 
Switch Flipped to Power ‘Welcome to Las Vegas Sign’ with Solar Energy 

       The Clark County Commission, Green Chips and the Clean Energy Project today turned on the solar project that will light the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign exclusively with solar power.

       The effort to install three solar trees with a total of 18 photovoltaic cells to exclusively power the legendary sign was led by Green Chips, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing environmental sustainability initiatives in Southern Nevada, and Clean Energy Project (CEP), a Las Vegas-based nonprofit organization that promotes the benefits of a clean energy economy.

       “We’re planting solar trees at one of the most photographed spots on earth,” said County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak. “It’s difficult to make a bigger statement about our commitment to sustainability than at the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign.” The sign falls on the border of Commissioner Sisolak’s district and that of Commissioner Mary Beth Scow. The commissioners, who have jurisdiction over the Las Vegas Strip, gave the green light to the project last year.

       “Visitors increasingly want assurances that the city they’re visiting respects the environment,” said Commissioner Scow. “Up and down the Las Vegas Strip, our resorts are becoming increasingly green. This public-private partnership creates the next logical step at what is arguably the world’s most famous sign.”   

       “The Las Vegas Valley is one of the sunniest spots on the planet,” said Commissioner and Green Chips Board Member Chris Giunchigliani. “We are delighted to harness that sunshine and use it to power such an iconic symbol of our community. The project will forever tie our storied past with the possibility of an exciting future powered by solar energy.” 

       “We are happy to see this high-profile collaborative project come to fruition,” said Rick Van Diepen, executive director of Green Chips. “Green Chips has been delighted to work on this public-private partnership to create this iconic project.”

       “Solar powering the ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ helps demonstrate the power of harnessing Nevada’s clean energy resources for our existing economy,” said Lydia Ball, executive director of the Clean Energy Project. “This has been a community-supported project from the beginning, and we are thrilled to have been a part of it.”

       Just over a month ago, ground was broken on the solar tree installation allowing The Strip’s most iconic landmark’s legendary neon and incandescent lights to run solely on harnessed solar energy.

       The project is fully funded thanks to generous donations from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), NV Energy and a grant from the Las Vegas Centennial History Grant Program. The installation was performed by Bombard Renewable Energy, which also provided significant in-kind services and donated materials to the project.

       “The International CES is proud to call Las Vegas home, and CEA is committed to helping Las Vegas be green,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA. “The ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign is an iconic image and these solar panels keeping it bright will benefit Las Vegas residents and visitors alike for years to come.”

       “Solar energy is one of Nevada’s most abundant resources and NV Energy has been leading the way in solar energy for nearly a decade,” said Bobby Hollis, NV Energy Vice President of Renewable Energy and Origination. “NV Energy is proud to be part of bringing solar energy to this iconic Las Vegas landmark and to the millions who visit each year.”

       “Bombard has been serving Las Vegas since 1982 and has helped build many of the famous resorts that call Las Vegas home,” said Chris Brooks of Bombard Renewable Energy. “For that reason we are honored to have been a part of this landmark project, which will provide clean solar power to the famous Welcome to Las Vegas Sign for decades to come.

       ”The project also includes an educational plaque describing how the project works and directing those interested in learning more about renewable energy and sustainability in Southern Nevada to the Clark County website.

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       Clark County is a dynamic and innovative organization dedicated to providing top-quality service with integrity, respect and accountability.  With jurisdiction over the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and covering an area the size of New Jersey, Clark is the nation’s 14th-largest county and provides extensive regional services to more than 2 million citizens and 42 million visitors a year. Included are the nation’s 8th-busiest airport, air quality compliance, social services and the state’s largest public hospital, University Medical Center. The County also provides municipal services that are traditionally provided by cities to almost 900,000 residents in the unincorporated area. Those include fire protection, roads and other public works, parks and recreation, and planning and development.

       The 25 feet tall “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, designed by Betty Willis, has greeted millions of Las Vegas visitors at the South end of Las Vegas Boulevard since 1959. When the switch is flipped on the solar project, the sign’s neon, backlighting and 89-bulb border will be powered by three solar trees, which are being installed along the central median where the sign stands. The solar trees will be placed so as not to interfere with the iconic view that has served as The Strip’s welcome mat for more than 50 years.

       Green Chips is a non-profit catalyst organization dedicated to building community through collaborative partnerships for a more sustainable future. The Mission of Green Chips is to strengthen and accelerate the implementation of sustainable community initiatives in Southern Nevada through strategic collaborations and public-private partnerships. Learn more at www.greenchips.org.

       Clean Energy Project, Inc. (CEP) is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to powering the clean energy economy through education and engagement with policy leaders, community leaders and citizens on the economic benefits of fully developing a clean energy economy. For more information, please visit CleanEnergyProjectNV.org.