POLL: Solar Panels on a Historic Building in Acton?

Would you approve or oppose placing solar panels on a 'historic' building in Acton?

Whether it's a place of business, a home or a historic staple, would you be willing to have solar panels on the roof? Would solar panels visually ruin the notion of preserving historic relevance or would it be a symbol of sustaining a historic landmark?

Could you see a building like the with solar panels on the roof?

Acton resident raised this question to Andy Brydges, Senior Director of MassCEC during last Thursday's .

The Acton Historic Distric Commission (HDC) would have to approve such a step and their duty is to (courtesy of Acton Town Website):

  • Preserving the heritage of Acton by protecting the architecture and integrity of our three designated Historic Districts: Acton Center, South Acton, and West Acton
  • Administering and enforcing the Town's local Historic District Bylaw, which was enacted by the Town in 1990

So what do you think? Would you be in favor of solarizing a historic building or do you think it takes away from its historical significance?

Nancy Shaw May 29, 2012 at 05:45 PM
This would have to be determined on a case-by-case situation. Panel upgrades could be fine on higher elevation historic buildings or in areas of the building that are not viewable on street level. Installations would need to be done very discreetly so that the integrity of the architectural style is maintained.
Jim Snyder-Grant May 29, 2012 at 05:52 PM
While there are appropriate places for solar panels in historic districts (south facing roofs that face away from public view), I think the time is not right for solar panels on most roofs in historic districts. In the future? The technology will become less intrusive; and it may become easier to invest in off-site solar energy.
Chris Schaffner May 29, 2012 at 06:02 PM
The answer is always "it depends" On Town Hall, in a visible location - probably not. On a single family house in the historic district, not visible from the street - why not?
Debra Simes May 29, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Ditto the case-by-case argument.
x May 30, 2012 at 01:17 PM
There are several reasons to be cautious with Acton's historic buildings. The green bubble could burst again, as it did years after the Arab oil embargoes of the seventies. We have estimated domestic reserves of shale natural gas and coal sufficient to electrify America for hundreds of years. Canada has an immense supply of rich oil sands. Elimination of subsidies could make photovoltaics unattractive in the not-so-sunny Commonwealth. If the equipment breaks or becomes obselete who takes it down? What if the utilities decide they cannot easily use more small-scale photovoltaic power (see California)? Historic buildings deserve careful consideration. Reverend E. Raleigh Pimperton III


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