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Moorestown to Consider Bringing Solar Power to the Township

A presentation is possible for May.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
The township may is looking into the idea of bringing solar power to Moorestown, and council is looking to have a presentation from an expert on the issue make a presentation in May.

“I’d like to look into the idea of using the old landfills for solar fields,” Mayor Chris Chiacchio said during Monday night’s meeting at the high school. “If we want to do this, we need to start doing things now.”

Councilman Greg Newcomer has been a proponent of bringing solar energy to Moorestown. He spoke about a state program that allows a municipality to install solar panels in one part of the township and gain a credit for the whole town.

When Deputy Mayor Stacey Jordan cited the fire department’s inability to battle a fire at Dietz and Watson in Delanco due to the presence of solar panels, Newcomer pointed out that occurred at a time when solar energy was still new and it worked differently.

In that situation, the 7,000 solar panels posed a problem for the firefighters because of poor air quality and the threat of electrocution.

Newcomer said he supports the idea, but believes having an expert appear in May could be too soon.

“I’d be happy to see that happen, but I don’t know if May is a reasonable amount of time to get enough information,” Newcomer said, stating that all the various problems need to be tackled.

“We could just have an informational session because I have my concerns,” Jordan said.

“We’re far from the dotted line on solar,” Township Manager Scott Carew said. “The technology and the legislation are changing so rapidly. We have Sustainable Moorestown, they know all the facets of solar from both the technological and the economic standpoint, and we have several engineering firms. We can gauge their expertise.”

Council’s next two action meetings are scheduled for April 28 and May 12.

Margaret April 10, 2014 at 07:19 AM
I've read that some airline pilots have complained about glare from solar fields. As we are so close to Philadelphia, will that be an issue?
Townie April 10, 2014 at 08:01 AM
Margaret, I believe the issue is putting panels AT the airport (lots of open space...a little revenue...), not an array 10 miles from PHL and several miles from any local runways. The value proposition for solar arrays in our area isn't what it was 5 years ago...before PA exploded with natural gas. I was with an organization that looked at it 5 or 6 years ago, and the complexity of thought needed to successfully negotiate these deals is beyond the scope of our township staff and leadership. We're going to get used, and then have it sold back to us by the politicians as a good thing. The solar people are smart enough to get all the value out without change orders.
Pete April 10, 2014 at 02:59 PM
@Townie: You are absolutely correct, solar panels are a very rapidly growing technology and the management of Moorestown does not have competence in this technical arena. They really have to hire a consultant up front to oversee this kind of project – finding a capable one would be the first, and very difficult, step.
Dudley Foramen April 10, 2014 at 07:17 PM
I'll just bet one of the pols on town council has a brother-in-law who is an expert in solar panels.
Our Town April 11, 2014 at 10:30 AM
@Dudley, I was thinking the same thing. I would expect one of the plethora of town hall consulting firms would jump at the chance. Moorestown Boondoggle part 2 or is it part 10?

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