City delays solar panel installation

City+delays+solar+panel+installation

Yesha Thakkar

The City of Newton chose to delay the construction of a solar canopy above the Lowell Avenue parking lot until April 2020. 

According to assistant superintendent Liam Hurley, the district’s chief financial and administrative officer, the city made the decision to delay the canopies because the steel needed to install the panels did not arrive in time for construction to begin in the fall. Phase Three of the solar project, designed to bring solar panels to public buildings in Newton, is intended to support the energy needs of low-income households and reduce the city’s environmental impact, according to local advocacy group Green Newton.

However, according to Will Ferguson, Newton’s energy project manager, constructing the panels in the spring comes with several benefits. 

“Installing the solar panels disrupts about 40 parking spaces,” he said. “It’s more convenient to install them during spring break when there aren’t as many faculty and student vehicles in the parking lots.” 

He added that the warmer weather will be more comfortable for construction workers, and delaying the project will not affect the cost of installation.

Ferguson said that the city has also mitigated the environmental impact of construction by ensuring that every removed tree “be replaced by new trees with equal diameters.”