Redefining the solar canopy standard for gaming resorts

How DSD helped MGM Springfield generate savings on their electrical bill while positioning them as an environmental leader in the gaming space.


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The Challenge

MGM Springfield, which opened in August 2018, is a unique hotel and gaming resort comprising of multiple buildings and an eight-story parking garage in downtown Springfield, MA. Casinos and gaming resorts use an enormous amount of electricity to run their operations, and MGM has set multiple metric-based climate goals for 2030 including: reducing absolute Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 50% and sourcing 80% renewable electricity globally, and sourcing 100% renewable electricity in the U.S. From both an economic and environmental standpoint, it made sense when MGM Springfield’s leadership decided to incorporate on-site solar into the facility.

But the diversity and complexity of the building’s architecture and location proved challenging. To design and install a canopy solution for such a tall building in an urban landscape — one that creates savings for MGM, fits their energy consumption, and matched their existing architecture — required creative thinking and financing, and a tight partnership between DSD and MGM.

MGM Springfield MA 1382kW Canopy
MGM Springfield MA 1382kW Canopy

The Solution

The rooftop parking garage offered an ideal location for the solar arrays. DSD designed a solution that achieves optimal production aiding MGM in reaching their sustainability targets while also adding functionality for the casino’s customers.

 The completed solar canopy solution sits atop an eight-story parking garage with 3,456 panels totaling 1.4 MW of clean energy. In addition to reducing their carbon emissions and generating savings for the casino, the covered parking spaces protect customers and employees from the elements. Plus, DSD’s proprietary water and ice management technology built into the design reduces expenses (e.g., deck maintenance, snow removal, etc.) — all without compromising a single parking space.

“MGM really wanted to create something that would redefine the standard for solar canopies. We’re honored that they selected DSD to help guide them through this energy transformation.”

Ben Jones
Executive Vice President – Product Innovation
Distributed Solar Development (DSD)

The Execution

The construction of this solar project required tight coordination with MGM to ensure no disruption to their 24/7 operations. DSD was able to design and construct these canopies in phases to accommodate the casino’s schedule and keep their operations intact, achieving mechanical completion within 6 months of the start of construction despite ofweather challenges.

MGM Springfield MA 1382kW Canopy
MGM Springfield MA 1382kW Canopy

The Outcome

By finding the sweet spot of electrical, structural and installation efficiency, the canopies contributes to MGM Springfield’s goals of reducing carbon emissions and being over 80% powered by renewable energy sources by 2030. In addition, the renovated MGM building was able to achieve LEED Platinum level certification — a first for the gaming resort industry.

Further, by financing the project through DSD’s investment fund with a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) structure and leveraging state incentive programs (such as SMART), MGM Springfield reduced its energy costs and generated savings for the casino from day 1 of the solar system going into operation.

“As a values-driven company, we are immensely proud that MGM Springfield is the first resort in the gaming industry to achieve the LEED Platinum certification.”

Jim Murren
Chairman and CEO
MGM Resorts International


The Impact

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“DSD created a solution that was precisely what we needed, one that we couldn’t have imagined in advance.”

Michael MathisMichael Mathis
MGM Springfield

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