To the Editor:
Watertown has been lucky to have a relatively low rate of COVID-19 infection and death. Our elected officials and administrators have worked diligently on our behalf. Among the safety measures instituted is a ban on door-to-door solicitation during the crisis.
Trinity Solar, a for-profit New Jersey solar installation company, has threatened legal action against Watertown for its ban on door-to-door solicitation during the pandemic. Even if solar installation is deemed an essential service, there is nothing “essential” about selling solar door-to-door during a pandemic. Watertown had no choice but to permit Trinity Solar’s request to engage in door-to-door solicitation, thereby increasing the risk of COVID infection for the residents of Watertown.
There is no doubt that we are in a climate crisis, and the transition to renewable energy is essential. I am a solar advocate. I have spent untold hours walking streets, holding information programs, and meeting with groups to explain and advocate for solar power. I have never taken a dime
for my advocacy and promotion of solar. My small solar programs have between one and two megawatts of solar installed around the Commonwealth. Watertown has over five megawatts of installed solar comprised of over three hundred installed solar systems, and the city is in the process of building two new zero-net energy elementary schools, which will be powered by solar. Clearly, the residents, elected officials, and administration of this town believe renewable energy, including solar
power, is essential.
Solar continues to be installed in Watertown all during this pandemic without door-to- door solicitation. This makes clear that Trinity Solar’s legal action, which is solely for its own profit, is completely unnecessary and would disserve by putting residents of Watertown at risk.
It is important for all residents of Watertown to know that most reputable and local solar companies are not behaving this way. None of them have threatened towns with legal action. None are sending a solar salesforce into any neighborhood. None are risking residents’ or their employees’ health.
It hurts all of us who are dedicated to the transition to renewable energy to have this difficult and time-consuming effort marred by a company willing to put others at lethal risk for its financial gain.
For anyone interested in installing solar during these times, there are many ways to seek information or install, including calling Ed Lewis, Watertown’s Energy Manager, contacting me through the website for Neighborhood Solar, or contacting any of our local solar companies.