Pew Charitable Trust Engages Third Sun Solar

Pew Roundtable Explores Ideas for Accelerating U.S. Clean Energy Industry

Athens, Ohio—The Pew Charitable Trusts Clean Energy Program recently convened a roundtable discussion to explore ideas for accelerating growth and competitiveness in the U.S. clean energy industry. This was the second of a half-dozen nationwide roundtables that Pew is hosting to gather expert input on the state of the U.S. clean energy economy and strategies for enhancing America’s competitive position. The ideas from these roundtables will be compiled by Pew into a “Blueprint for American Clean Energy Competitiveness.”

The roundtable was convened in collaboration with The Central Ohio Clean Energy Manufacturing Solutions Hub, Advanced Energy Economy of Ohio, Edison Welding Institute, and The Ohio Manufacturers Association. Approximately 30 industry leaders participated, including executives from GE Energy, AEP Ohio, Babcock & Wilcox, Rolls-Royce Fuel Systems, and Third Sun Solar.

The Pew roundtable focused on the issue of clean energy manufacturing in Ohio and, by extension, the U.S. The information gathered during the event will help inform Pew’s year-long effort to develop a comprehensive U.S. clean energy competitiveness strategy. The roundtable gathered a diverse group of business executives that crossed technology interests and areas of expertise. The group featured executives who know their industries well, are comfortable speaking candidly, and most importantly, can offer expert advice for steering policymakers to key issues in stimulating investment, business development, job creation, and progress across the U.S. clean energy supply chain.

During the roundtable, significant time was spent on issues currently impacting clean energy manufacturing in Ohio and across the nation, including:

  • Government policies regarding renewable energy
  • Financing and investment
  • Grid parity
  • “Bankability”
  • Tax laws
  • Regulatory changes and inconsistent policies
  • Free market policy directions

It is hoped that outputs from the Pew roundtables will encourage policymakers to renew the production tax credit, pass a clean energy standard, and support innovators, entrepreneurs, and industry in developing the world’s most advanced, cost-competitive clean energy technologies for Americans to use and export around the world.

Statement from the Pew Charitable Trusts Clean Energy Program

Energy is a key pillar of our lives—it runs our cars, charges our computers, and powers our factories. Globally, energy use is expected to increase 35 percent over the next 25 years, driven almost entirely by demand due to increases in electricity use and vehicle fleets. The growing need for energy around the world is likely to make it an ever more precious commodity—forcing up prices and increasing global instability. Additionally, the world’s energy sector is responsible for approximately 70 percent of global carbon emissions, the direct cause of climate change. A business-as-usual approach to energy policy threatens global economic competitiveness, national security, and the environment. We must fundamentally transform the manner in which we produce, distribute, and consume energy if we are to reduce dependence on oil, create jobs, enhance global competitiveness, and decrease carbon emissions.

New Solar Array to Power Kent State University Field House

First renewable energy project will reduce carbon emissions on Kent State campus

Athens, Ohio— Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, is installing 1,716 solar panels on the Kent State Field House. Covering almost one acre of roof area, this installation is believed to be the largest roof-mounted system among Ohio’s public universities. Scheduled to be completed in July, it is the first renewable energy project for Kent State, and is being completed by Third Sun Solar of Athens, Ohio.

The solar array will generate about 500,000 kilowatt hours of clean electricity per year – about one-third of the annual consumption of both the Field House and Dix Stadium, or enough to power about 50 average homes. The project will eliminate an average of 779,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year, which is roughly equivalent to removing 70 cars from the road per year.

“We have been searching for funding opportunities to install solar panels on this roof for many years, and it is great to see the installation underway,” said Tom Euclide, Kent State’s associate vice president for Facilities Planning and Operations. “The benefits of adding this renewable energy source to our campus energy portfolio will not only help keep our costs lower for decades to come, but will also provide a visual reminder of Kent State’s leadership in sustainability, energy conservation, and the use of renewable energy.”

“Facilitating the installation of energy-saving technologies—and now, renewable solar energy systems—is extremely satisfying,” said Robert Misbrener, project manager, sustainability, energy conservation, commissioning in the Office of the University Architect at Kent State. “The true goal is to demonstrate our stewardship of the environment and empower generations of students to carry that mission to the world.”

Kent State does not initially own the solar panel system, but will purchase all of the electricity produced by the system, while retaining the option to purchase the system after seven years. Some larger system components are being included to allow for the potential expansion of the Kent State Field House facility.

“Potentially, the sun’s energy can fulfill all of the world’s power needs many times over,” Misbrener said. “Sunlight contains energy that can be turned into electrical current, which can be harnessed for power. There are no harmful emissions from the sun as an energy source; it won’t run out, and best of all, it’s free.”

Kent State already produces most of its own energy in its combined heat and power plant that uses natural gas to power electric turbines. The heat typically released into the atmosphere by a power plant is, instead, saved and used to heat and cool the campus, making the university’s power production substantially more energy efficient than utility power systems. The university will reduce its fossil fuel consumption as it continues to develop renewable energy as one of its sustainability initiatives.

For more information about Kent State’s sustainable construction projects, visit www.kent.edu/universityarchitect/energy_conservation/index.cfm.