Do you remember a few months back when the guys over at ProgressLex were complaining so vehemently about the power poles along Euclid and the new Oliver Lewis Way? Well, I hope that they don't get hold of the concept going around in New Jersey by their electric utility.
PSE&G for putting up solar panels on their power poles and tying into the grid as a way to supplement power production. They are aiming at 40 megawatts annually by 2013. And a number of whining NIMBY's in town are really up in arms about it.
Some want to whine about the fact that they are there, others about the fact that they are not on every pole and still others that they were not asked (or told) before the collector panels were put up. The Deputy Mayor in one town came out and said that they were just plain “horrible”. (Something about this sounds familiar.)
I can see the good behind an effort to “untie the sky” and try to get as many of the power lines underground as possible and we did just that under the Urban Renewal project along Main and Vine back in the '70s. Do you see the results of that in the controversy and demise of the CVS store this past year? A forgotten location of an underground power vault can mess up someones whole day.
What does this hold for the future in Lexington, on the placement of solar collectors or wind generators should a private entity wish to invest in them? Will they be allowed on roofs of our larger downtown buildings? Will a private homeowner be allowed a residential sized wind generating unit, either on the roof or in the back yard? Will they become as ubiquitous as the satellite dishes mounted all over town?
To me, the pole mounted collector is not a big problem. I may prefer to see them arranged in a more vertical shape to more conform to the height and scale of the pole. I would also like to see more research into the application of a spray-on paint type of collector which uses nanotechnology. Put that on the pole and blend it into the background. I find this to be a beginning of the design curve not dis-similar to the table top sized VCR's, the projection TV's and the 12' cable dishes in the yard. We need to install the first units and then refine down to the best possible end result. Before the next new system comes along.