Solar panels have been showing up across New Jersey for about a year now, due to the largest utility in the state, Public Service Electric and Gas Company. PSEG is installing 200,000 separate panels in neighborhoods throughout its service area, which covers about three-quarters of New Jersey.

Financial incentives and a public policy on renewable energy has led New Jersey to become second only to California in solar power. But a lot of neighborhood residents have differing opinions on the aesthetics provided by the panels.

Some North Jersey residents and local officials have called them hideous, an eyesore, even “ugly as hell,” according to PSE&G is working on a $515 million project to install at least 180,000 panels by 2012.

“I hate them,” said Eric Olsen of Oradell, about a row of panels installed on electrical poles across the street. “It’s just an eyesore.”

In Ridgewood, Deputy Mayor Thomas M. Riche said he had received numerous complaints from constituents to stop the rise of the panels. Ridgewood got PSE&G to stop the installations due to fears they would interfere with the emergency communications boxes on the poles where they had been erected.

According to the New York Times, Fair Lawn Mayor Lisa Swain said that her city was cooperating with the program and that she was trying to add to the effect, with items such as motion sensors.

Fair Lawn resident Sean Smith said he was fine with the seven panels on his street, saying, “We have the kids to think about.”

Meanwhile, reports hundreds of businesses in New Jersey are installing solar panels at a greater rate than ever these days, taking advantage of roof space that would have otherwise gone unused. Some companies are reportedly recouping their investments in five years.

source: newjerseynewsroom