The planning board is poised to approve a solar array off Blacksmith Shop Road. This is welcome news. The array will make excellent use of 69 acres of a former gravel mining operation and will generate 7.3 megawatts of clean power.
The board, as it should, pressed the developer on details of the plan. What will happen when the solar panels have outlived their useful life or if the developer goes out of business? It is a good question. Solar panels last about 20 years. That’s a long way off and it is entirely possible that by that time the developer, Borrego Solar, will no longer exist. But there is also a good answer, which is that a bond will be posted yearly that would cover the cost of removing the system.
Another concern of the board seemed a little odd. One member was worried that the project would be dangerous for children. Within the array will be catch basins to prevent flooding in the event of very heavy rain. Children, he said, might be tempted to explore them and fall in.
It could happen; it’s in the realm of possibility. There will be a seven-foot-high fence around the system, but scaling that could present an interesting challenge to youngsters.
But with that outlook, the world must seem like a precarious place. There are ponds all over town that invite disaster. There are busy roads to cross. Towers of all sorts to climb. Highways to cross.
Parents know this and, we hope, talk to their children about it.
Years ago trains went to Woods Hole. The tracks ran by the back yards of many homes, some of them with children. Parents made them aware of the danger. We don’t know of any children who were killed or injured by the trains.
On the other hand, at least one adult was killed when a train collided with a car at a crossing.
In addition to a fence, the Blacksmith Shop Road solar array will also be posted with signs. That is good; that should help keep the adults out.