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First cell towers, now solar panels? Expect squawking over "appropriate" sites

Last year, there was a major fight in my modest-sized north New Jersey town over whether or not there should be a cellular tower built up at the high school. Are we destined to start hearing the same sort of flack about solar panels?
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

Last year, there was a major fight in my modest-sized north New Jersey town over whether or not there should be a cellular tower built up at the high school. Are we destined to start hearing the same sort of flack about solar panels?

Over the past two weeks, two major installations have been touted in California, both of which have been sited at commercial buildings. The first, on a warehouse in Fontana, Calif., is the first rooftop that will be included in Southern California Edison's planned 2-square-mile thin film solar panel installation.

Photo credits: Southern California Edison

The Fontana rooftop is 600,000 square feet. It is the first of 150 commercial buildings in the Southern California Edison project.

This next photo is the installation that was built at a warehouse facility for The North Face in Northern California.

My previous blog entry explains the dynamics of The North Face project with Recurrent Energy.

All this seems fairly typical, but then there's this zinger out of Europe. The city of Santa Coloma de Gramanet has actually set up a 470-plus solar panel installation atop some mausoleums.

Which beg the question: Where is it "appropriate" to set up solar panels? Are public buildings fair game? Should the relatives of those interred in those Spanish burial plots feel honored or proud that the site is bring new life and possibilities to the surrounding community?

Of course, if IBM is right with one of its recent technical predictions, this is all a moot point, because solar "panels" won't look like "panels" in a matter of just five years. You'll find them in paint, asphalt and windows. Here's more information about that prediction.

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