Monday, March 28, 2011

NIMBY Behind Local Opposition To PSE&G Solar Power Installations

I've previously reported that PSE&G is embarking on the nation's largest distributed solar power installation. They were in the process of installing 200,000 solar power arrays on light and power poles throughout the state that would be the equivalent to 40 megawatts of power.

These installations - each unit produces a peak of 200 watts - were recently installed in Radburn and they're popping up throughout Northern New Jersey.

You would think that solar power arrays wouldn't find opposition, but you'd be wrong.

Towns and some residents are finding reasons to complain because they think they're ugly or that they may somehow reduce property values.

I think it's nothing more than NIMBY that is driving the opposition. Indeed, some residents think that the solar power units should be installed solely in business areas, rather than residential parts of towns. Never mind that these residents benefit from the power and get to breath cleaner air since it reduces the need for coal powered generators to kick in. They don't want the solar arrays on their block.

The units aren't any more of an eyesore than the light and power poles and lines that string across the towns and communities throughout the state, and in this instance, they're providing a tangible benefit to the state in reduced reliance on coal power.

That isn't to say that PSE&G couldn't have done a better job of notifying residents of impending installations. They should be even more proactive in dealing with communities and education on how and where the first wave of solar power units are being installed (because I expect that with the success of the first wave of solar power units, additional installations will come in future years) and they should provide access on their website to the public to show just how much energy is being generated by the solar installations - so people can see just how much power that this project is generating.

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