By Michael Abeyta

PUEBLO, Colo. (CBS4) – If you’ve never been to Pueblo, it’s safe to say the sun is intense.

“As you can see right now we’ve got a lot of sun,” said Colorado State University Pueblo President Timothy Mottet as he stood on campus.

So, when CSU Pueblo got the chance to work with the state and private partners to use that sun to help their campus reach net zero efficiency, they were all about it.

(credit: CBS)

“Sustainability is one of our guiding principles and it’s important to us, so this is how we’re walking the talk,” says Mottet.

On Thursday the university flipped the switch on a brand new 23-acre solar array project on the north side of campus. It was part of a partnership with Johnson Controls, Capital Dynamics and Black Hills Energy in Pueblo. The solar project allows the campus to generate excess energy and put the energy back on the grid.

(credit: CBS)

Mottet says the idea came from two CSU Pueblo employees. Chris Muniz, the construction manager for Johnson Controls, says he enjoyed working together with the university to make their idea a reality.

“This project was exciting to work on because it’s helping create a more efficient and greener planet,” he said.

It will also allow CSU Pueblo to minimize energy costs for the next two decades and pass the savings to students.

“Making college more affordable for them,” said Mottet.

It also helps Colorado as a state move closer to a renewable future. That’s a goal Gov. Jared Polis set, and CSU Pueblo says they are glad to help out with.

“This is our part in helping the state,” said Mottet.

Michael Abeyta