Winds damage solar panels on Las Vegas' new City Hall

It didn't take long for Southern Nevada's elements to put Las Vegas' new City Hall to the test.

High winds that whipped through the region earlier this week crumpled three of about 230 solar panels on the roof of the seven-story building, which hosted its first City Council meeting on Wednesday.

"We found out about the holes in the building where the sand comes in," Mayor Carolyn Goodman joked during the meeting as she described high winds buffeting the building. "I thought we were in an earthquake."

According to Terry Murphy, a spokeswoman for building developer Forest City, damage was limited to the rooftop solar panels.

The panels are fitted into mounts that are held onto the building by ballast.

During the two-day windstorm, three panels were crumpled, but none of the panels nor framework were blown from the rooftop of the building, which cost about $150 million to build and furnish through a lease-purchase agreement between Forest City and the city.

By Thursday, repairs -- which are covered by the building's warranty -- were already under way.

"They basically had to pry those panels out of the frames," Murphy said of the damaged solar cells that had to be replaced.

Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at