Dixie State University in St. George has discontinued a $10 million deal to name its sports stadium after Utah-based solar power company Legend Solar in light of the company’s recent financial plight.
University officials and executives from Legend Solar agreed to part ways in order to “allow Legend Solar to focus on serving their customers, employees, and the community,” according to a statement from DSU.
University spokeswoman Jyl Hall said the campus stadium will now be known as “Trailblazer Stadium” after the school’s nickname, until the university is able to find another donor interested in naming rights.
Legend Solar had committed to provide the university with a $5 million donation, but had only made two payments totaling $150,000 before it stopped making payments in 2016, according to Hall.
Legend Solar co-founder Shane Perkins confirmed that the company had made only two payments toward the donation.
The St. George-area solar company was also supposed to provide the Dixie State campus with $5 million in solar panels and technology, none of which had been installed, according to Hall.
Company executives say the Legend Solar is in the midst of an “extreme cashflow problem” — brought on, they said, by a sharp downturn in sales in 2017 and related difficulties. Scores of customers in Utah, Nevada and Oregon have paid Legend Solar for residential solar arrays that remain incomplete.
Perkins, one of the company’s co-owners, said they parted ways with Dixie State amicably in order to allow Legend Solar to focus on addressing its installation backlog and to pay its employees.
The deal with Dixie was “not a huge annual expense to us,” Perkins said, “but every penny counts toward making things right with customers and employees for now.”
Company officials have confirmed that some employees went without pay amid waves of layoffs in late 2017 and early 2018.
Once among the fastest growing companies in Utah’s solar industry, Legend Solar announced that it would make the $10 million donation to the school in 2016. The deal would have been the largest gift in DSU’s history.
The gift was intended to help the university expand the stadium to 10,000 seats and add an east grandstand with new locker rooms, restrooms, concession stands and ticketing facility.
At the time, Legend Solar said the gift was supposed make the stadium “the largest, most efficient and fan-friendly public seating venue south of Provo.”
The $150,000 DSU has received from Legend Solar will be put toward these ongoing renovations, according to Hall.
Construction of the east grandstand and renovations is still set to be completed by the end of April, according to the school’s statement, but will now be funded “by alternative revenue streams that we designated prior to breaking ground to ensure all bond payments are made, as we do on all building projects.”
Correction: March 22, 9 p.m. • An earlier version of this report misstated the places where Legend Solar promised solar arrays are paid for but not complete. They are Utah, Nevada and Oregon.