Going Green: Solar Panel Project at Kent State Ashtabula
Kent State University at Ashtabula is one of six Kent State regional campuses that added solar panels during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Work began in Fall 2020 and included the installation of 2,160 ground-mounted photovoltaic panels on the former site of Jammal Field. The Ashtabula solar array will provide 864 kilowatts (1,161,216 kilowatt hours) of clean energy each year, representing about 68 percent of campus use. It is enough energy to power 139 homes and eliminate 905 tons of CO₂ per year.
In 2019, Kent State University and Enerlogics subsidiary TEN NINE Energy agreed to a power purchase agreement (PPA) over 25 years. In return for purchasing solar power, Kent State campuses pay no out-of-pocket expenses for the panels and installation. Third Sun Solar is handling the installation.
The Office of the University Architect estimates that the campus will save approximately $16,400 in energy costs the first year and a minimum $410,00 over 25 years. The reduction in carbon footprint of 905 tons of CO₂ is equivalent to removing 177 cars from the road.
Pollinator flowers will be planted throughout the solar array. Consisting of wildflowers and other plants specifically selected for the area, the flowers will yield both natural beauty and a refuge for native honeybees, butterflies and other pollinators that will help restore balance to the ecosystem. Project construction was completed in the spring of 2021.
“I am pleased that we installed the solar array,” said Susan J. Stocker, Ph.D., Dean and Chief Administrative Officer. “It’s the right thing to do. It will result in a large cost savings for the campus and it is renewable, sustainable and environmentally responsible.”
Similar projects were completed at East Liverpool, Geauga, Kent, Salem, Stark and Trumbull.