Welcome to Las Vegas sign goes solar

No offense, polar vortex, but if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Right?

That seems to apply to the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, which is scheduled to begin running on solar energy during a switch-flipping ceremony at 4:30 p.m. today. The iconic landmark is located in one of the sunniest spots in the United States. Why not harness that energy?

Clark County Commissioners, Green Chips and Clean Energy Project broke ground on the new solar tree installation earlier this year. The solar trees, located on the west side of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign, will power all the neon and incadescent lights on the sign, including the 89-bulb border.

“We’re planting solar trees at one of the most photographed spots on earth,” said County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak in a press release. “It’s difficult to make a bigger statement about our commitment to sustainability than at the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign.”

Although the solar trees (which are not actually trees, but tall solar panels) are large and can’t be missed, they will not obstruct your photograph as long as you’re willing to park at the attraction and stand in front of the sign.

Created in 1959, the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign is an iconic symbol of Sin City spawning souvenir T-shirts, key chains and even knockoffs of the sign itself (a replica can be found on Boulder Highway as well as at the entrance to downtown Las Vegas).

People once risked their lives running through traffic to pose next to the famous sign, located on the Strip just south of Russell Road (near Mandalay Bay). Thankfully, a small parking lot was built next to the sign in 2008, transforming it into a tourist trap instead of a death trap.

Oh, and it’s free.