Kent State installs solar panels on University Field House


Tim McMillian, field manager from Third Sun Solar, stands on the roof of Kent State’s field house on June 13. Third Sun Solar was contracted by Kent State to install the solar panels on the roof of the field house. Photo by Matt Hafley.

Drew Parker

Kent State hopes to lessen their carbon footprint with the installation of 1,716 solar

panels to the University Field House this month.

The solar roof of the Field House, which is expected to be completed by early

July, will cover about an acre and generate about 500,000 kilowatt hours of electricity

per year, which is about one-third of the Field House and Dix Stadium’s annual power

use and enough to power about 50 homes.

Third Sun Solar, an Ohio-based clean energy company will complete the project.

Project manager Rob Phillips of Third Sun Solar said the use of clean energy will

financially benefit the university with set prices and a 25-year warranty.

“(Kent State) is protecting themselves from price increases in the future and

providing green energy to the campus,” Phillips said. “I think Kent State will follow

through with other projects now that this is up and going.”

Gerald Kelly, Third Sun Solar communications director, said solar energy could

help the university with recruitment.

“We have seen many schools, universities, and companies very interested in solar

energy and renewables as a recruitment tool because it demonstrates to potential students

or employees that they are a company that is trying to do the right thing,” Kelly

said. “We’ve found that that is a powerful tool for both recruiting and retaining top


Bob Misbrener, project manager for the university architect’s office said the

project will meet Kent State’s sustainability quota and President Lefton’s roadmap for


“It is a great teaching tool,” Misbrener said. “People will be able to look online

and see how much energy we are producing and see that solar energy is a viable


Misbrener named the Student Wellness and Recreation Center and Schwartz

center and potential candidates for solar energy in the future.

“We will make sure that this one is done properly and successful first,” Misbrener

said. “We have a renewable energy master plan.”

Contact Drew Parker at [email protected].