Colorado State University-Pueblo soon will be the home of a solar electric system in excess of one megawatt, one of the largest such systems for an education facility in the United States. Under this innovative arrangement with Black Hills Energy (formerly Aquila) and BP Solar, the system is estimated to contribute more than 10 percent of the University’s electricity needs. Installation of the ground-based solar array will begin in July with full operation scheduled for late this fall.
The University will purchase the electricity generated by the solar array from BP Solar, who will install and operate the system. Black Hills Energy will purchase the solar on-site renewable energy credits generated from the system from BP Solar. The system will be constructed on the east side of campus between the physical plant complex and the softball fields on a strip of land that could not easily serve any other purpose.
“We view this as an extension of the commitment the University and the CSU System have made to renewable and sustainable energy,” said CSU-Pueblo President Joseph Garcia. “Because this solar array will be visible from new facilities being constructed to support our new athletic programs and the planned development on our eastern campus border, it will serve as a strong statement about the University’s commitment to supporting sustainable energy resources.”
“We are proud to be able to bring large-scale solar energy to Pueblo,” said Mary Shields, vice president of global sales and marketing for BP Solar. “The CSU-Pueblo campus is the perfect place to demonstrate the clean, efficient power that solar can provide to communities throughout Colorado and other parts of the U.S.”
Garcia added that the new system supports Governor Ritter’s New Energy Economy to make Colorado a hub for solar energy and supports Black Hills Energy’s effort to bring more solar energy to Colorado. As part of its Solar Rebate Program, Black Hills Energy will provide a $200,000 upfront rebate incentive for the installation of the solar system. The program helps Black Hills Energy meet Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard, which requires that five percent of Black Hills Energy’s electricity sales be generated from renewable sources.
"Black Hills Energy is excited to be a part of this project and about the solar energy contribution this system will provide CSU-Pueblo,” said Gary Stone, Black Hills Energy vice president for Colorado electric operations. “Combined with the Black Hills Energy Solar Rebate Program, biomass and wind resources already in use, the CSU-Pueblo solar system builds on Black Hills Energy's commitment to renewable energy for the communities we serve in Colorado."
With new facilities being brought on-line during the next six months, including a new $11.2 million student recreation center, CSU-Pueblo estimates the completed project will generate savings in utility costs and help absorb the cost of increased demand.
Garcia said the project is a winning venture for all three partners.
“In short, this project will help control the University’s utility costs as prices and usage increase, promote the use of sustainable resources, help satisfy Black Hills Energy’s state mandates, and allow BP Solar to bring a major solar project to Southern Colorado,” Garcia said.
Smart Growth Advocates (SGA), a local non-profit, connected the partners last year.
“Assembling the combined talents of a team of this caliber ensured results which exceeded expectations. Our goal was to highlight the effectiveness of public-private partnerships to deliver concrete sustainable solutions, and we are elated with the result,” said Vickie Massam, SGA President. About CSU-Pueblo
- CSU - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university of more than 4,200 students emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach since 1933, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.About Black Hills Energy
- Black Hills Energy, a subsidiary of Black Hills Corp., serves approximately 93,000 electric customers in 21 southeastern Colorado communities. Black Hills Corp., based in Rapid City, S.D. (NYSE: BKH), is a diversified energy company with a tradition of exemplary service and a vision to be the energy partner of choice. The company serves 750,000 utility customers in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. The non-regulated business unit generates electricity, produces natural gas, oil and coal, and markets energy. We partner to produce results that improve life with energy. Learn more at www.blackhillscorp.com
. About BP Solar
- BP Solar, part of BP Alternative Energy, is a global company with more than 2,300 employees. BP Solar designs, manufactures, and markets products which use the sun's energy to generate electricity for a wide range of applications in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. With over 30 years of experience and installations in more than 160 countries, BP Solar is one of the world's leading solar companies having 228MW annual manufacturing capacity in 2007, plus another 700MW capacity under construction. BP Solar has solar cell and module manufacturing plants in Sydney, Australia; Bangalore, India; Madrid, Spain; and Frederick, MD, USA; and module manufacturing in Xi’an, China. In Frederick, it also has casting and wafering facilities. BP Solar invests more than $10 million annually in photovoltaic research and development.BP Alternative Energy
, launched in November 2005, combines all of BP’s interests in low and zero-carbon energy including wind, solar, hydrogen power with carbon capture and storage, natural gas-fired power generation, biofuels for low carbon transport and distributed energy for emerging markets. For more information, please visit www.bpsolar.us
. About Smart Growth Advocates
- Smart Growth Advocates, formed in 2004, is a non-profit organization dedicated to sustainability and quality of life issues. More information about SGA can be found at www.smartgrowthadvocates.org
BP, Tom Mueller, Director, Press and Corporate Communications, 281-366-1236
Black Hills Energy, Kenny Romero, Renewable Energy Manager, 719-546-6534
CSU-Pueblo, Cora Zaletel, Executive Director, External Affairs, 719-549-2576
Smart Growth Advocates, Vickie Massam, President, 719-565-0597Notes to Editors
The 1+ megawatt CSU-Pueblo solar system will generate enough solar-generated electricity to power 225 homes. It will abate approximately 1,600 tons of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent of removing 330 cars from the roadways or more than four million vehicle miles traveled.
The University installed a smaller 6 kilowatt solar system last year on its Technology Building.
Additional graphic renditions of the solar system available upon request.