Town Looks at Possible Options for Solar Panels
WETHERSFIELD - It’s early in the game, but the Wethersfield Town Council has begun discussions regarding the addition of solar panels at spots in town.

       Under Connecticut’s new renewable energy program, towns can garner state funding for construction projects through energy credits, according to Town Manager Jeff Bridges.

       The town would enter into a lease agreement in which a third party vendor provides the equipment, Wethersfield Director of Physical Services Sally Katz told the Council at its meeting last Monday, June 2.

       “We want to be smart about it,” Katz said outside Council Chambers after a brief presentation. “Since we’ll be entering a lease with a third party, we want to make sure that it’s a good opportunity. Slower is better, but we want to be moving forward.”

       The first step has been to examine what other municipalities have been doing in regard to installing solar panels, and one possibility would be following the approach taken in East Hartford, Katz said.

       “What they’ve been able to do is very strategically place solar panels in a way that’s beneficial in two ways,” she said. “It’s covered parking and it has solar panels.”

       That’s what Wethersfield Police Chief James Cetran is envisioning for covered parking at the Police Department, and he hopes that the addition of solar panels can help offset the cost, but Katz said that the “size and scope” of the building prompted them to take a step back and not pursue the project this year.

       For now, the town’s Citizens Energy Committee will look at other areas of Wethersfield where solar panels might provide the maximum benefit with the minimum blight, Katz said.

       “You don’t have to do a whole farm,” Katz said. “You can do smaller areas. Are there places where we can strategically place them and not make them obtrusive? That’s the problem with wind farms.”