Campus Sustainability

CSU Pueblo Announces Net-Zero Efficiency with Completion of Solar Array

Colorado State University Pueblo in Pueblo, Colo., recently announced that it has become the first university in the state to achieve net-zero efficiency. The achievement comes with the completion of a 23-acre solar array on the north side of campus, which has already begun supplying solar power to all academic buildings. The project began as a 25-year power purchase agreement with Johnson Controls.

“Controlling energy costs is not only sustainable and the right thing to do, but it also allows us to keep higher education affordable for our students,” said CSU Pueblo President Timothy Mottet. “Our solar project, as well as other campus-wide energy savings programs that Johnson Controls made possible, will allow us to minimize energy costs for the next two decades, allowing us to pass on these savings to our students. We are working hard to keep higher education affordable and within reach for the people of Pueblo and Southern Colorado.”

The solar project began in February 2019 as a partnership among the university, Johnson Controls, Capital Dynamics and Black Hills Energy in Pueblo, according to a news release. The array will allow the university to generate excess power and put it back into the grid. The CSU System Board of Governors approved the project based on its forethought and a feasibility study guaranteeing financial savings for the university. The project also aligns with the university’s goals of sustainable living and energy efficiency.

“To become the first campus in Colorado to reach net-zero efficiency is a remarkable achievement, and we commend the University’s leadership for its vision and determination to reach this milestone,” said Nate Manning, President of Building Solutions North America at Johnson Controls. “This achievement is a beacon of what we can accomplish together. We are proud to have partnered with CSU Pueblo for more than 20 years and, working alongside Capital Dynamics and Black Hills Energy, create sustainable, energy efficient and healthy environments at the University and across Pueblo.”

The project involved the installation of a photovoltaic system with solar panels and a rechargeable battery, according to CSU Pueblo’s Craig Cason, Associate Vice President for Facilities and the project lead. “The project is possible with a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) and a long-term lease agreement on approximately 23 acres on the north side of campus,” he said.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].