A Las Vegas Solar Plant, the Mega Solar Array, is offline possibly for the next two years after a man set his Toyota Camry on fire. Mohammed Mesmarian was arrested after ramming his car through the security gate, setting it on fire, and disabling the solar plant. The plant is currently not producing electricity, as the parts to replace the damaged area are difficult to produce. The Mega Solar Arrays is an Invenergy facility.
An employee at the facility told the media outlet that the fire caused “major damage,” estimating that it would take two years to receive replacement parts. The damaged unit was shut down and isn’t producing electricity at this time, officials told the outlet.
Investigators told the channel that they believe Mesmarian siphoned gasoline from his vehicle and placed gas on wires at the transformer before setting them on fire. Security camera footage was also released, allegedly showing the suspect lighting his car on fire near the transformer.
Damage was done to the Mega Solar Array facility, which provides power to MGM properties, including its hotels.
“Following an incident at the Mega Solar Array facility, on-site personnel immediately notified authorities and shut down the plant’s operations as a precaution in accordance with industry-standard safety protocols,” a spokesperson for Invenergy, which manages the plant, told the media outlet. “No one was injured, and we are currently restoring the facility’s full operations.” The Epoch Times
The 100 megawatt solar plant powers 13 of MGM’s Las Vegas hotels. According to viacasinos.com, the 336,000 solar panels power daytime MGM resorts throughout the Vegas strip. The plant was erected in 2020. MGM reported no disruptions in the power supply to the casinos.
On Tuesday afternoon, police say Mesmarian rammed an Idaho-registered Toyota Camry through a gate at the plant, which is run by a Chicago-based company called Invenergy. Employees at the plant had already left for the day.
But it was not until midnight on Wednesday, according to the arrest report, that Mesmarian caused the real damage. Police say video surveillance shows him setting fire to the car while it was parked inside a generator pit after siphoning gas from its tank to burn wires in a transformer. As shown on video surveillance, Mesmarian then watched the flames for about 15 minutes before walking away…Inside the charred car, police reported finding an iPhone and two laptops they linked to Mesmarian, whom they arrested Thursday at a Lake Mead campground.
Police said Mesmarian admitted to the crime, saying he did it “for the future.” However, he incorrectly identified his target as a “Tesla solar planet.” viacasinos.com
Mesmarian claims to be from Iran. He faces charges of “committing an act of terrorism, arson, destroying or injuring real or personal property of another, and escape by a felony prisoner.”
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