‘Not on my ugly, blighted utility pole’


There’s nothing pretty about utility poles and lines snaking around urban neighborhoods. Can a solar panel really make it worse?

Apparently so, at least in New Jersey, the second-most-solar state in the country. The utility company is putting small solar panels on utility poles and people in Bergen County aren’t happy about it.

“I hate them,” Eric Olsen of Oradell told the New York Times. “It’s just an eyesore.”

I looked up Mr. Olsen’s address and loaded it into GoogleMaps. It’s easy to see why he’d think ill of the devices. He’s got a lovely neighborhood. Just wait until they have to start cutting the trees to allow the sun to hit the panels….


But the general complaint about the panels is common when it comes to alternative energy. It’s different and thus constitutes “an eyesore.”

The people of one upscale neighborhood in Woodbury successfully fought a wind turbine that would’ve provided much of the power needed at a new high school a few years ago. None of the homes were within four or five city blocks. It would be an eyesore, they said. The city agreed.

But this runs through the same property and nobody seems to notice…


We generally don’t like people “moving the furniture.” Things that take some getting used to aren’t what we’re used to.

Have you traveled along I-94 in the Monticello-St.Cloud area recently? More than 150 huge transmission towers are going up as part of the CapX 2020 project. The next phase will add towers all the way from St. Cloud to Fargo. They’re 140-170 feet tall and are spaced every 1,000 feet. They’re an eyesore, perhaps as much as when I-94 first bulldozed its way across the state.

Ten years from now, we probably won’t notice they’re there. Until someone sticks solar panels on them.

(Utility pole photo from sameold2010 via Flickr)