Colorado Governor Bill Ritter dedicates new solar power system at CSU–Pueblo


Colorado State University-Pueblo (CSU), BP Solar and Black Hills Energy today joined Gov. Bill Ritter and other dignitaries here to dedicate a new solar power system that will provide more than 10 percent of CSU-Pueblo’s future power needs.

The 1.2-megawatt solar power system, one of the largest at an educational institution in the US, will help the university control utility costs as prices and usage increase over time. The solar array covers 4.3 acres with more than 6,800 photovoltaic panels, and is capable of generating approximately 1,800 megawatt hours of electricity per year.

 “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 Gov. 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.

###

For additional information, contact:
CSU-Pueblo - Cora Zaletel: office (719) 549-2576;  mobile (719) 253-2323.
Black Hills Energy - Kenny Romero: (719) 546-6534.
BP Press Office - Tom Mueller: (281) 366-1236.

About CSU-Pueblo – Colorado State University-Pueblo is a premier mid-sized, public university within a world-class university system that advances the social, cultural, and economic development of the region.  The University enrolls more than 4,600 students in 26 undergraduate programs with approximately 510 full-time faculty and staff.  CSU-Pueblo is considered the fastest growing university in Colorado with Fall 2008 enrollment up nearly 12 percent, including a 65 percent increase in freshmen.

About Black Hills Energy/Colorado Electric – Black Hills Energy’s electric utility in Colorado provides electricity to approximately 92,000 customers in 21 communities in the southeast part of the state. Its parent company, Black Hills Corp, a diversified energy company with a tradition of exemplary service and a vision to be the energy partner of choice – is based in Rapid City, South Dakota with corporate offices in Golden, Colorado and Omaha, Nebraska. Its utility companies serve 750,000 electric and natural gas customers in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. The company’s non-regulated businesses generate wholesale electricity, produce natural gas, oil, and coal, and market energy. Black Hills employees partner to produce results that improve life with energy. More information is available to www.blackhillscorp.com.

About BP – BP is the second largest natural gas operator in Colorado in addition to being a partner in one of the largest wind farms in the state, Cedar Creek.  BP has been operating in Colorado for over 30 years and employs about 300 people in Southwest Colorado and the Denver area. BP Solar, based in Frederick, MD, designs, manufactures, and markets projects which use the sun’s energy to generate electricity for a wide range of applications in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. With more than 30 years experience and installations in more than 160 countries, BP Solar is one of the world’s leading solar companies and employs more than 2,000 employees. More information is available at www.bpsolar.us.

About Smart Growth – Smart Growth Advocates, formed in 2004, is a non-profit organization dedicated to sustainability and quality of life issues. More information is available at www.smartgrowthadvocates.org.   

Notes to Editors:

  • The CSU-Pueblo solar facility will abate approximately 1281 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent of removing 235 cars from area roads.
  • For more information view the Fact Sheet 
                                               

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.