Johnson Controls, GRID Alternatives and Partners Build Community Solar Garden and Bring Renewable Energy Job Training to City of Pueblo Housing Authority

Johnson Controls the global leader for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, together with longtime partner GRID Alternatives Colorado and Capital Dynamics will finance, operate and maintain a two-megawatt community solar garden for the Housing Authority for the City of Pueblo (HACP) Colorado. One of six contracted projects, the solar garden is a photovoltaic (PV) system composed of ground-mounted solar panels which will generate enough energy to power 200 households annually. The energy capacity will be allocated to a mix of qualified, low-income residents as well as multifamily affordable housing properties. In addition, the project will provide hands-on solar training and employment opportunities for the local community.

“HACP is pleased to partner with the City of Pueblo, Johnson Controls and GRID Alternatives to install this community solar garden,” said Frank Pacheco, executive director, the Housing Authority of the City of Pueblo. “HACP plans to direct annual energy cost savings from the 2 MW project to enable a community solar benefit plan, which will support job training, educational opportunities in addition to other program and financial assistance that will improve quality of life for our residents – all supported through sustainable, local energy.”

The project is anchored by the HACP in support of its long-term affordable housing initiative with the City of Pueblo to improve sustainability and community health. The project exemplifies Johnson Controls vision of how healthy buildings lead to healthier people, healthier places and a healthier planet. The improved building efficiencies will directly support community wellness while reducing the city’s carbon footprint to create a greener, healthier environment. Energy efficiency measures will provide quantitative metrics to ensure the community’s public health goals are achieved.

“By simultaneously investing in renewable energy and new career pathways for its residents, the City of Pueblo is a model for how cities can build community resilience while strengthening their infrastructure. Johnson Controls is proud to lead the team that is helping the city’s aspirations come to life,” said Nate Manning, President of Building Solutions North America at Johnson Controls. “Energy efficiency is a key mission for Johnson Controls. Our solutions help save energy while improving infrastructure, enhancing energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Johnson Controls, who oversees the project and is responsible for site management, worked with GRID Alternatives, a national leader in providing access to clean, affordable renewable energy, transportation, and jobs to economic and environmental justice communities nationwide. There will be no upfront costs to the city thanks to the Johnson Controls investment partner who financed the project, Capital Dynamics, a private asset management firm focused on mid-market corporate investing and clean energy infrastructure. The three organizations have worked together to design, build, install and maintain the solar garden for HACP.

“This community solar project is reducing energy costs for low- to moderate-income individuals and offering new career pathways for our residents, right in our backyard,” said City of Pueblo Councilman Larry Atencio who supported the project from an early stage. “We look forward to working with Johnson Controls, GRID Alternatives and Black Hills Energy on future projects that position the City of Pueblo as a leader in an equitable transition to renewable energy”

In addition to the solar garden, Johnson Controls and GRID Alternatives will help HACP develop five additional public housing sites with onsite solar PV systems using incentives from Black Hills Energy. Combined, all of the sites equipped with these systems will dramatically reduce costs while creating a healthier, greener community for years to come.

In 2010, the housing authority selected Johnson Controls to deliver $4.8 million in energy efficiency improvements under an energy performance contract. In 2018, Black Hills Energy selected GRID Alternatives to build two community solar projects in Pueblo. Longtime partners, Johnson Controls and GRID Alternatives built Colorado’s first floating solar array in 2019. The project won that year’s Colorado Solar & Storage Association (COSSA) Solar Power and Energy Storage Award for Industrial PV Project of the Year.

“Renewable energy has the power to lift up communities,” said Adrienne Dorsey, executive director of GRID Alternatives Colorado. “The installation of this 2-megawatt solar project is a great example of how partners from the public, private and non-profit sectors can work together to advance the transition to a world powered by renewable energy that benefits everyone.”

Through an array of training programs, GRID Alternatives offer a variety of ways to gain skills in different aspects of the solar industry. GRID’s vision is a rapid, equitable transition to a world powered by renewable energy that benefits everyone. It is committed to making our job training opportunities accessible and inclusive of groups that are traditionally underrepresented in solar including women, people of colour and those impacted by the criminal justice system. Funding for the training programs is provided by Lightsource bp, the Gates Family Foundation, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHRA) and the JPB Foundation.

“Our experience providing innovative solutions to local government and public housing facilities allowed us to work with our partners to make this community project happen and helped Pueblo improve sustainability while reducing costs for its residents,” said Manning. “We have delivered an excess of $150 million in energy projects and site management that drives sustainability for healthy people, healthy places and a healthier planet. We’re proud to be a part of Pueblo’s commitment to sustainability to not only benefit the environment but also the community as a whole.”

To learn more about Johnson Controls renewable energy solutions, visit

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