Lexington residents need to be aware of the Tracer Lane Solar Project at 0 Cambridge St. / Concord Turnpike that is currently under review by the Lexington Planning Board. The project is planned in a forestry area adjacent to Lexington conservation land, the Cambridge Reservoir, and residential property in Lincoln and Waltham. The scope of the project is to cut down approximately 800 trees over 9+ acres and build a 1 megawatt, 4,000 panel solar installation. Imagine the tree loss and wildlife displacement. The solar panels will be located on a steep hill and jammed up against Waltham residential property. The panels will have a proposed 50-foot setback from the residential property lines, but much of the area between the property line and actual panel placement will be cleared. 

Because of the proximity to the reservoir, there will be no foam fire suppression installed or used, as foam could contaminate the reservoir. Should there be a fire (solar panels do catch fire more frequently than people think), the agreed strategy by the Lexington & Waltham Fire Departments is essentially: let it burn itself out. You cannot fight an electrical fire with water, so all the responding firefighters will do is wet the ground near the abutting homes in hopes the fire will not spread. This is the plan! Where else in Lexington is there a “let it burn” strategy?

If there were a fire, the plume of smoke would contain both lead and cadmium (both carcinogens) that would settle on the reservoir and potentially contaminate the water. The smoke could travel for 1.25 miles and the residue settle on homes in Lexington, Lincoln and Waltham. The potential for risk to firefighters is high. They would be exposed to toxic smoke, working on an extremely slippery and steep incline. The sole entry and exit to this solar field will be a 20-foot wide gravel path installed across a residential property in Waltham (owned by the developer) which backs up to the Lexington property the developer is planning for this solar field. The Waltham residents are not against solar. Some have it on their own homes. This is not NIMBY opposition. It is just a bad project with multiple problems. For more information please visit our website at WalthamNeighborsForSafeSolar.org.

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