Efficient energy use reduces Colorado State's total energy demand, decreases harmful emissions, and minimizes the cost of providing energy to the campus. As a result of energy conservation initiatives that have been implemented over the past twenty years, the average demand per square foot on campus has actually flattened out and is currently showing little growth.
Remember - The greenest kilowatt-hour is the one we never use (Walter Simpson).
Foothills Campus Chrisman Field Solar Plant
Developed in two separate phases, the solar system on Foothills Campus reflects the University's commitment to renewable sources of energy. Covering 15 acres, phase one of this solar project includes a 2,000 kilowatt solar power plant generating more than 3.5 million kilowatt hours of clean electricity annually - enough to meet more than 10 percent of the electricity consumed by the CSU Foothills Campus.
The construction of phase two of this solar project began in September 2010. Phase two also incorporates 15 acres of land, totaling a 30 acre solar field. This 3,300 kilowatt array will generate five million kilowatt hours annually.
In total, both phases will together produce 8.5 million kilowatt hours every year. One-third of the Foothills Campus annual electricity load will be met with these panels.
The first phase was designed and installed by AMEC, an international engineering and construction company. A Wattsun single-axis tracking system implemented in phase one was made by Array Technologies to maximize solar electrical generation by following the path of the sun during the day for greater efficiency and energy production.
Phase two was constructed and installed by Global Energy Services (GES), an independent service provider. GES installed the solar panels on Macapisa racks. The inverters that convert DC electric power to AC power for both phases are provided by Advanced Energy - a local Fort Collins company. All of the solar power plant features photovoltaic modules by Trina Solar.
The CSU Foothills Campus solar power system is funded by a public-private partnership among Colorado State University, regional utility Xcel Energy, and renewable energy developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV). The project, owned and operated by FRV, utilizes a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) structure that leverages tax credits and incentives. The PPA structure enables CSU to purchase the electricity produced by the plant at fixed rate for 20 years, providing CSU with protection against future rate increases without any upfront costs to the University.
The Colorado State University project, part of the Xcel Energy Solar Rewards program, received a rebate to offset construction costs. This project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere by more than 6 million kilograms each year, generating renewable energy credits that Xcel Energy will purchase in support of Colorado's Renewable Energy Standard, which requires large utilities to generate 30 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2020.
With the Foothills Campus Solar Array, Colorado State University demonstrates leadership in clean energy, a commitment to sustainability, and the ability to work in partnership with private industry to meet its goals.
- Project Surface Area: 30 Acres
- Solar Plant Capacity: 5,300 kWdc
- Date of Completion: December 2010
- Annual Energy Output: 8,500,000 kWh
- Number of Solar Panels: 23,049
- Number of Watts per Panel: 230 W
- Number of Inverters: 10
- Generates equivalent electricity to power 949 homes
- Energy Purchaser/Site Host: Colorado State University
- Utility: Xcel Energy
- System Owner/Operator: Fotowatio Renewable Ventures
- Solar System Designer and Integrator: AMEC (Phase 1), GES (Phase 2)
- Rack Manufacturer: Macapisa
- Solar Panel Manufacturer: Trina Solar
- Inverter Manufacturer: Advanced Energy
Solar Panel Project Helps Power Engineering Building
Colorado State has partnered with the Governor's Energy Office to install photovoltaic cells on the Engineering Building overlooking the Plaza as a cost-saving measure that will also serve research purposes. The 18.9 kilowatt solar array is expected to produce 27,000 kilowatt hours per year and will reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the Engineering Building by 20 metric tons per year. The panels will also serve an educational purpose by giving students the opportunity to study the hardware and data from the PV system and learn about the potential benefits of larger renewable energy systems.
Visit the media gallery to see pictures of this project.
Bioenergy @ Colorado State University
The University is involved in numerous projects relating to the field of bioenergy. For full details, please visit the dedicated Bioenergy @ Colorado State University website.
Biomass Boiler at Animal Reproduction and Biotechnology Laboratory
A biomass boiler heating plant has been installed on the Foothills Campus to reduce the university's greenhouse gas emissions and cut energy costs. The fuel cost will be approximately one-half the cost of natural gas, resulting in a savings of approximately $60,000 in utility costs annually at CSU. Biomass is a significant step in achieving lower greenhouse gas emissions because using energy from biomass eliminates the need for fossil fuel-based energy sources and prevents rotting trees from being burned during wildfires or prescribed burning.
To learn more about this system, please refer to the Biomass Fact Sheet .
Yates Hall Energy Reduction
Staff from Facilities Management worked together with occupants of Yates Hall to optimize ventilation for safety and energy efficiency. The result was a 26% decrease in the electric use of the building.
In 2004, Colorado State became one of the first universities in the nation to offer on-campus residents the option to purchase green power. Over 900 students have signed up for this option since then. In addition to green power purchased by students, CSU has also purchased green power for several buildings on campus.
Based on national average emissions rates, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Colorado State's total purchase of over 7,000,000 kWh is equivalent to keeping more than 12,000,000 pounds of CO2 from entering the Earth's atmosphere over the next year. That amount is equivalent to eliminating CO2 emissions associated with the use of nearly 650,000 gallons of gasoline annually or the elimination of CO2 emissions from the electricity use of over 800 average American homes for one year.
South College Gym and Fieldhouse Lights
Colorado State changed indoor and outdoor lights at South College Gym to more energy efficient bulbs, which will save approximately $4,500/yr. The Platte River Power Authority and the City of Fort Collins helped to fund this project by providing the University with rebates to cover over one-third of the cost.
In October 2005, an 800 kW steam turbine generator was added to the Main Campus central heating plant. This turbine allows the University to take advantage of previously lost energy in order to produce electricity that will meet 5% of the campus peak electrical load. By producing a portion of its own renewable energy, the Colorado State saves over $260,000 and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 2,600 tons each year.
Veterinary Teaching Hospital Retrofit
Colorado State replaced all of the lights at the VTH with more efficient fluorescent lamps and ballasts. The project was partially funded by the Platte River Power Authority and the City of Fort Collins, and is anticipated to save the University over $22,000/yr.