[Update: Cotuit’s town councilor, Jessica Rapp-Grassetti succeeded in killing this proposal]
In Cotuit news …..
The local weekly, the Barnstable Patriot, carried two letters-to-the-editor this week expressing citizen alarm over moves by the town and the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative to build a photovoltaic solar energy array on 11 acres of scrub pine forest behind the western edge of Cotuit’s Mosswood Cemetary.
The CVEC and the town’s energy department have been working on a number of projects on public land, proposing and installing solar panels on municipal buildings, behind schools, and adjacent to various properties such as the senior center and elsewhere. According to the CVEC — a regional consortium consisting of representatives from the Cape’s towns and counties — “In 2010 CVEC, with its project partner ConEdison Solutions in the role of Power Purchase Agreement provider, completed installations totaling approximately 750KW of photovoltaic power at 7 CVEC member sites across Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. This is enough clean, renewable electricity to power over 125 homes and offset .517 metric tons of CO².”
The Cotuit project came to the attention of the Cotuit-Santuit Civic Association at a recent meeting when the project was presented by the town’s energy coordinator. This raised the recent alarm and hence the letters to the editor, marking the first time I had been made aware of the project although it had been publicly advertised since September 2011.
The CVEC website yields some information, such as this description of the project:
There are no photographs or simulations of what the hardware will look like installed, but I assume it will consist of rows of black cells mounted off of the ground on some form of pedestal with a collection point then wired out to the general grid. Here’s an example of an installation:
The land lies out behind the Cotuit Kettleer’s ball park, accessible by the dirt road segment of Old Post Road that runs west from Putnam Ave. and northwest towards the water department’s Main Street water tower. It appears to abut the village’s well field that provides drinking water.
I can’t determine what the projected kilowatt output of the array would be, any technical or cost details, as the CVEC site is remarkably unfriendly to a layman seeking information.
According to the two letters, one by Cotuit-Santuit Civic Association Secretary Tom Burgess, the other by village resident Francis Parks, the objections to the project center around:
- Surprise. The project was only shared with the civic association six months after requests for proposals were issued.
- “Desecration”: Mosswood is a cemetery and there is concern that the project would be inappropriate given the solemn purpose of the property and possibility of future expansion.
- Environmental: the village has a tradition of preserving open green-space, especially in that area, and Ms. Parks raises the issue of possible contamination of the village drinking water and impacts on wildlife.
2 thoughts on “Mosswood Solar Proposal”
As one who has family and friends buried in Mosswood, this is interesting news. Having worked for land developers, and worked with Electric Coops, I can tell you that anything done in haste will be ill-planned and more destructive than necessary (at best) if there is little citizen involvement in the process. Glad to see Tommy on the case! I’m all for renewable energy, but it seems there are better places to develop than cemeteries.
I’m all for the installation of pv solar arrays in appropriate areas such as landfills where there are no trees, but if you’ve got to denude the landscape to make it suitable for pv, then you’re in the wrong place.
I’ve had the dubious pleasure of attending two burials in Mosswood in the recent past and found it to be a remarkably calming and peaceful place. Hopefully it will remain so.