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Concord Planning Board Discusses Solar Panels

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By Colleen Mahoney

The Town of Concord Planning Board had a discussion about solar panels at its Sept. 6 meeting. The discussion came after town residents had been approached by solar companies looking to erect panels on their property.

Board member James Jozwiak reported on a training he attended as part of the fire department regarding solar panels. Solar Liberty conducted the training, which centered around how to extinguish a fire with solar panels present. Jozwiak reported that the panels are guaranteed to hold in winds up to 110 MPH, and that they cannot be installed to blanket an entire roof. For commercial buildings, there needs to be space around the panels big enough for people to walk around. Residential roofs have to have access for utility workers.

Chairman Lawrence Kelly explained that in mid-spring, residents approached the town board regarding the legality of solar panels in the town; currently, there are no laws or codes in the town for solar panels.

“The town board put a moratorium … I think six months … on solar panels,” Kelly explained, “to give it time to decide what they want to do.”

Kelly said the discussion was very preliminary and the board hasn’t yet decided if it wants to allow solar panels. Currently, the planning board is collecting information and talking with other towns that have passed laws on the energy resource.

“We have to get a base map to work from … and put everything together,” planning board member Karl Lux said.

The planning board is anticipating the town board will come back to them with recommendations on what other towns are doing, and what they’d like to do. Kelly likened solar panels to wind turbines, for which the planning board also worked on creating codes and laws. Lux agreed, adding that there was a lot of discussion during that time. Moving forward, the plan is to gather as much information as possible and create a plan from there. There was no action taken on the topic.

The planning board will next meet Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. in the town hall court room, 86 Franklin St., Springville.

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