Southington residents in one section of town have a solar situation they’d rather not deal with.
A row of solar panels in a popular meadow is creating a massive glare that is frustrating those living in its path.
A series of trees were planted this week with the goal of having them eventually shield neighbors from the glaring problem.
“It's like a Martian colony,” said Rich Panek, who has been fighting the solar panel project for two years. “We were concerned with the aesthetics.”
Town leaders say they entered a power-sharing project with the company who brought the panels, Greenskies.
It’s a 20-year deal which could save Southington 20 to 30 percent, at no cost to the town. At one of several solar panel sites, the savings goes to the Board of Education.
The panels rest in a parcel of green space owned by the town.
They’ve been up since fall, and aside from the eyesore, Panek says there’s a significant glare blasting his house every evening around 6 p.m.
The glare bursts through his back windows, he said.
There are panel supporters in the neighborhood, like Larry Cotter, who likes that they can “save money for the town.”
Town Manager Garry Brumback says Southington could eventually save about $1 million of its $3 million power bill when the panels are all fully activated.
He says the town has tried to compromise with neighbors bothered by the panels, but the goal of renewable energy is an important one to the town council.
Panek may have problems with the panels, but is trying to see the bright side.
“It’s not perfect but it’s better than no trees at all,” Panek said.
Brumback says the glare is a problem for Greenskies too because the panels aren’t absorbing sunlight properly.
There will still be some tweaking to try to alleviate that problem.
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