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Solar energy to power iconic Vegas welcome sign

– Officials in Las Vegas are harnessing the power of the sun to light the city’s iconic welcome sign.

Elected officials and project leaders flipped a switch Wednesday linking solar panels on 25-foot towers to the glittering neon “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.

The project was headed by the Green Chips and Clean Energy Project nonprofit organizations, and funded by the Consumer Electronics Association, electric utility NV Energy, the Las Vegas Centennial Commission and Bombard Renewable Energy.

The new power source is the latest upgrade for the sign designed by Betty Willis and installed in 1959 in a traffic median on the Las Vegas Strip.

A parking lot for private vehicles and tour buses was expanded in 2012 to make access to the sign safer for picture-takers.

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