Not All Want Solar4All
New solar panels on utility poles in historic districts caught preservationists by surprise over the holiday weekend, but the Solar4All program was proposed by PSE&G in February and launched in July, according to published reports.
In e-mails forwarded to Plaintalker, preservationists call them unsightly and wonder how they escaped the scrutiny of the Historic Preservation Commission.
For a concise report on the program from Reuters, click here.
The Historic Preservation Commission reviews and makes recommendations on all changes to the exteriors of buildings in the city's six residental historic districts, the city's North Avenue Commercial Historic District and the Civic Historic District around the War Memorial and City Hall, among other responsibilities. Land use boards must take the commission's recommendations into account when hearing applications.
It is not clear whether the HPC's jurisdiction extends to new uses on utility poles.
The panels need to be installed where tree branches or other objects will not block the sun. They are fixed and cannot follow the sun's rotation. According to a PSE&G Solar4All fact sheet, "PSE&G will install solar panels on up to 200,000 utility poles in neighborhoods throughout PSE&G's service territory - the largest pole attached installation in the U.S."
Click here to read the full fact sheet. A South Plainfield firm, Petra Solar, received the contract for installation. PSE&G won approval last summer from the Board of Public Utilities for the five-year, $515 million project. It is expected to generate "hundreds of good-paying green jobs" in addition to creating savings on energy bills over time.
City Hall was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, but you can bet on Monday preservationists will be looking for answers from somebody on the sight that ruined their appetite for the traditional feast.