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Board OK’s solar panels, with conditions

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Belmont’s Planning Board unanimously approved a proposal to install 500 solar panels on the roof of the Wellington School on Orchard Street, pending the review of several concerns raised by neighbors and local officials in recent months. The board’s chairman, Michael Battista, said three potential issues with the project are noise and glare from the electricity-generating system, and how the array’s installation might affect the structural integrity of the roof. In voting to approve the project on Jan. 6, Planning Board members said their support is subject to assurances on these points. Dennis Daru, project manager at Broadway Electrical, the company that would install and operate the system, said his company would fix any roof leaks that might result from the panels, while the school’s insurance would bear responsibility for any leaks unconnected to them. Gerald Boyle, director of the town’s Facilities Department, said there are no significant problems with the school’s roof, and Broadway Electrical will bring in the roof manufacturer to assure that the solar panels would not affect the warranty on the building. After the school opened in 2011, some neighbors said noise from its heating and cooling system was bothersome, and the proposed solar-electricity array was seen as potentially exacerbating the problem. Broadway Electrical representatives said at a Dec. 3 meeting that they would place the system’s inverters in the school’s basement, rather than on the roof, to resolve the noise issue.

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