Black Hills State University Young Center Solar

  • Date: 2020
  • Client: Black Hills State University
  • Project Type: University Solar

Black Hills State University is on pace to generate 1.3 MWh of power annually.  This is the equivalent of producing enough energy to power 1,000 homes. BHSU anticipates saving over $100,000 per year.

GenPro Energy Solutions, a full-service energy services company, based in Piedmont, South Dakota installed solar arrays on the Donald E. Young Sports & Fitness Center, the Kathryn Johnson Life Sciences Laboratory, the E.Y. Berry Library Learning Center and the Facilities Services Building. When the installation is complete, BHSU will have a total of six buildings on campus outfitted with solar arrays, which with the Campus’s current WAPA hydro-power allocations, making the campus powered by 78% renewable energy.

Black Hills State and GenPro first started working on sustainability initiatives together when they co-hosted a seminar series in 2015 that focused on best practices in energy efficiency and renewables for local businesses.  Three years later BHSU’s first solar installation came to fruition.

“BHSU first worked with GenPro to install solar panels on Bordeaux Residence Hall in 2018. We wanted to move forward with installing additional arrays on more campus buildings after seeing the energy costs decrease after the solar panel array was in place,” said Kathy Johnson, Black Hills State’s Vice President for Finance & Administration.

“We are incredibly proud to help our local University obtain renewable energy goals that many large National Universities are still trying to figure out.” said Molly Brown, GenPro’s VP of Energy Development. “We hope this project will showcase how renewables can be used for both financial savings and as an economic development tool for South Dakota communities.”

Not only is BHSU on the cutting edge of solar in the state and the region, there are only approximately 40 campuses in the United States that can claim to be powered 100% renewable energy.

The university also recently installed solar-powered lights along St. Joe Street and Jonas Street in Spearfish. Future plans include a solar-powered carport and energy efficient athletic field lighting.

“Our overall sustainability goals at BHSU are to be carbon neutral by 2050, use only renewable energy, be a zero-waste campus, and build the local food economy,” said Johnson. “BHSU is proud to be a leader in sustainability for the region.”

Technical specification for the six BHSU buildings with solar power:
Bordeaux Residence Hall:  69.9 kW DC- 222 solar panels
Thomas Residence Hall: 68.8 kW DC – 186 solar panels
Kathryn Johnson Life Sciences Laboratory:  82.1 kW DC – 216 solar panels
E.Y. Berry Library-Learning Centers: 136.8 kW DC – 360 solar panels
Facilities Services Building: 35.64 kW DC – 108 solar panels
Donald E. Young Sports & Fitness Center:  540.36 kW DC – 1,422 solar panels

About Sustainability at Black Hills State University
Black Hills State University is a masters-level state university with more than 3,800 students. The campus leads the region in sustainability efforts and maintains top academic programs in business (AACSB Accredited), exercise science, natural sciences, social sciences, the arts, mass communication, health sciences, and education. A master’s in sustainability is offered completely online through BHSU. The University, founded in 1883, is located in the northern Black Hills, a region abundant with outdoor activity and culture. Spearfish, S.D., is recognized as one of the top 10 most livable small towns in the USA and has also been recognized nationally for outdoor recreational opportunities. The University has many sustainability initiatives including the Climate Commitment, Campus/Community Garden, Food Forest, electric vehicle, wind turbine, recycling, and compost program, and maintains designations as a Tree Campus USA and Bee Campus USA. Learn more at

About GenPro Energy Solutions
GenPro Energy Solutions is an energy services organization, with a global depth of experience in solar, power generation and energy-efficient technologies, headquartered in Piedmont, South Dakota. GenPro partners with residential customers, businesses, municipalities, utilities, state and national governments on projects that range from energy-efficient lighting systems to development of utility-grade solar energy farms. Fully certified solar design team including NABCEP, SEI, and ASES. GenPro currently serves 200+ energy-related dealers in North America. They are listed among Solar Power World Magazine’s “Top 500 Solar Contractors” for the past six consecutive years.

Want to see how you can partner with the best? Contact GenPro Energy today to get started!