Colorado State University-Pueblo (CSU), BP Solar International Inc (BP Solar) and Black Hills Energy have dedicated a new 1.2 megawatt (MW) solar power system. It will provide more than 10% of CSU-Pueblo’s future power needs. The solar system will help the university control utility costs as prices and usage increase over time. It covers 4.3 acres with above 6,800 photovoltaic panels, and is capable of generating around 1,800 megawatt hours of electricity per annum.

“This project is an excellent example of how the New Energy Economy leverages private and public partnerships in developing clean energy projects. Most importantly, it will help the university control its long-term energy costs and direct those funds back into the classroom,” said Governor Ritter.

“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. “This project serves as a strong and very visible statement about the university’s support for sustainable energy resources.”

BP Solar installed and will operate and maintain the system, selling the zero-carbon electricity to the university. Project funding was provided by BP Solar and supplemented by Black Hills Energy, CSU-Pueblo’s local electric utility company, as part of its solar rebate program. Black Hills Energy will also purchase from BP Solar the renewable energy credits created by the project.

The system was constructed on the east side of the Pueblo campus near the university’s physical plant complex and softball fields.

“We are proud to be able to bring a large-scale solar solution to CSU-Pueblo, and in a way that avoids their need for upfront investment,” said Reyad Fezzani, CEO of BP Solar. “This work is a great example of our commitment to grow solar energy in the US market, and BP continues working closely with customers in Colorado to help them gain access to clean energy sources, including natural gas, wind and solar.”

Black Hills Energy is committed to renewable energy for the state of Colorado,” said Gary Stone, Black Hills Energy vice president for Colorado electric operations. “The Colorado State University-Pueblo solar project further confirms our dedication to energy conservation for our customers and communities in Colorado.”

The university’s new solar system supports Governor Ritter’s New Energy Economy, making Colorado a hub for solar energy manufacturing, research and development, and installations. The facility also supports Black Hills Energy’s electric utility, which serves customers in southeast Colorado, meet its requirements under the state’s renewable energy standard. That standard requires that 5 percent of its electricity sales be generated from renewable sources.

The university thanked the firms involved in the development of the solar power system, including Smart Growth Advocates, a Pueblo-based non-profit firm responsible for bringing together the university, BP Solar and Black Hills Energy.