3:35pm

Thu April 21, 2011
Renewable Energy

CSU Dedicates 5.3 Megawatt Solar Plant on Foothills Campus

Colorado State University administrators in Fort Collins officially dedicated a 5.3 megawatt solar plant on the Foothills Campus Thursday.

The 35,000 solar panels were installed on a 30-acre site. The project took place in two phases, the last of which wrapped up in December. And while the university supplied the land, the plant is actually owned and operated by private company Fotowatio Renewable Ventures.

“It took a real partnership to make this happen,” said FRV Senior Vice President Chad Sachs. “So we had to work with Xcel, Colorado State University, GES was our constructor, and our shareholders,” said.

As part of the arrangement with FRV, the university has agreed to purchase power from the plant for the next 20 years at a fixed rate. Carol Dollard, energy engineer with CSU Facilities Management, says locking in an energy price over a long period of time will help the university save money.

“Hedging the electricity price was a huge selling point to the administration,” she said. “Knowing what our electricity will cost is a huge benefit to the university.”

CSU expects the system to provide about one-third of the power needed for the Fort Collins Foothills Campus. The solar plant is one of a handful of large displays on university campuses across the country.