Solar Project Brings CSU-Pueblo Closer to Net-Zero Electric Efficiency

PUEBLO, CO – Colorado State University–Pueblo recently signed a power purchase agreement to bring solar power to the university as the main generating source for the academic campus. On February 7, CSU-Pueblo held a solar celebration announcing the partnerships with CSU–Pueblo, Johnson Controls, Inc., Capital Dynamics and Black Hills Energy. This is a one-of-a-kind project, marking the first university in the state of Colorado to reach “net-zero electric” efficiency. This includes long-term power purchase agreements and long-term lease of approximately 22.3 acres of fenced-off solar array area sitting on the 27.4 acre site lease on the north side of campus. This is an important step toward the campus utilizing renewable energy and decreasing its impact on the environment.

“Today marks a celebration of the signed agreement to bring solar power to the CSU-Pueblo campus as a primary source of electricity,” says CSU–Pueblo President Timothy Mottet. “This is a testament to the work that has been done over the last year and a demonstration of the university’s commitment to the guiding principles of Vision 2028 to live sustainably and engage place.”

Of the four greening government goals in the Executive Order D 2019 016 from Governor Polis, CSU–Pueblo has far exceeded three of those goals including greenhouse gas emissions, energy management, and renewable energy. The state is requiring reduced greenhouse gas emissions by at least 10 percent below fiscal year (FY) 2014-2015 levels by end of FY 2022-2023.

It is also required to reduce energy consumption per square foot by at least 15 percent by the end of FY 2022-2023 using FY 2014-2015 as a baseline. Agencies and departments will increase the percentage of renewable electricity consumed or purchased by state facilities to 5 percent by the end of FY 2022-2023.

This project was fully supported by CSU–Pueblo cabinet members, the CSU System Board of Governors, and was moved forward with much help from the Office of the State Architect (OSA) and Taylor Lewis, program engineer at Colorado Energy Office (CEO).

“The forethought that CSU–Pueblo leadership in conjunction with our strong partners at CEO and OSA put the university in a position to receive guaranteed energy savings for 25 years under an Energy Performance Contract,” says Craig Cason, associate vice president for Facilities Management. “This solar project required collaboration from multiple fronts on campus, but we’re especially grateful for the work of Johnson Controls, Inc. and Capital Dynamics. This is a big win for CSU–Pueblo,” Cason says.

CSU–Pueblo faced the issue of volatile energy costs in Pueblo area, low campus saliency, desire to be a leader in renewable energy and CO2 reduction in higher education. As a result, the campus will benefit with locked-in electricity costs for 25 years and a fully self-funded solution. This boasts two million dollars in guaranteed excess savings over term with maximized 30 percent renewable energy investment federal tax credits.

The amount of CO2 this project is saving is equivalent to isolating a forest the size of the entire CSU-Pueblo campus.

About Colorado State UniversityPueblo
Colorado State University–Pueblo (CSU–Pueblo) is a public university in Pueblo, CO. It is a member of the Colorado State University System and is a federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution. A regional comprehensive university, CSU–Pueblo offers 29 baccalaureate and six master's degree programs, serving more than 5,000 students from all 50 states and 23 countries. Currently CSU–Pueblo is also ranked in the top 100 for best regional western universities. Over the past 75 years under four different names, the institution has graduated more than 35,000 students from 41 states and 32 countries. Visit for more information.

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