A Safety Issue?


The following letter was submitted in response to ‘The 'Solar Time Bomb': Mass. PV Project Moving Ahead Despite Backlash,’ published May 3.

To The Editor:

While the Commonwealth of Massachusetts implements cleaner energy sources, it is crucial licensed installers are on the job. Sadly, allegations recently surfaced claiming unlicensed individuals erected portions of a 24,000-panel, 15-acre solar electric project at Canton's Pine Street landfill. Some town officials and business leaders in turn attempted to make what really is a public-safety issue into a union issue.

The installation of every piece of solar electric generation equipment has significant safety implications that should not be assigned to anyone who is not a qualified electrician. Even though solar electric arrays may look harmless to some, people and animals can be killed or seriously hurt – and property destroyed – by improper application.

For decades, the installation of electrical equipment, including solar, has been highly regulated through a strict electric code and by thousands of highly educated electricians. The Board of State Examiners of Electricians, the expert agency created by the Legislature, has repeatedly ruled that only licensed electricians are qualified to install solar electric systems.

As union and non-union licensed contractors, electricians and inspectors in Massachusetts, we receive nearly 10,000 hours of on-the-job and classroom training before we are licensed and additional yearly continuing education afterwards to ensure each task is completed safely and reliably. For safety's sake, we certainly hope Canton officials and contractors at the landfill are compliant with all applicable codes and laws. Cutting corners is dangerous – union or not.

Paul Coleman
Massachusetts Electrical Contractors Association
Dedham, Mass.

Rick D'Amato
International Association of Electrical Inspectors – Paul Revere Chapter
Peabody, Mass.

Paul Guarracino
National Electrical Contractors Association of Greater Boston
West Newton, Mass.

Robert Venuti
Municipal Electrical Inspectors Association of Massachusetts and Rhode Island
Boston, Mass.

Editor's note: To submit your own contribution to Viewpoints, email Jessica Lillian at jlillian@solarindustrymag.com.

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