Morris County Addresses Solar Panel Snow Removal

Published on February 20, 2014

While roads and roofs in Morris County have been taxed by the snow, ice, rain and refreezing, the Morris County Improvement Authority's solar professional team continues assessing the integrity of both roof mounted and canopy style solar panels installed at various county and local government buildings and educational facilities.

According to Morris County Administrator John Bonanni, parking under the solar canopy installed at Boonton High School was suspended earlier this week as a result of the excessive snowfall the county has experienced. The snow was removed on Wednesday, and a re-inspection of the site will be performed prior to permitting parking to resume.

The rain and freezing rain that was experienced on Tuesday caused a weight shifting on some of the canopies at the Mennen Arena in Morris Township on Tuesday evening resulting in a number of solar panels falling, Bonanni said.

While no one was injured, one vehicle was damaged. In addition to the solar contractor's professional engineer, Morris County retained its own structural engineer to inspect the facility.

Both professionals concurred that parking under all of the canopies at Mennen should be suspended until the solar contractor is able to remove all snow and ice, or until the present warmer temperatures melt the snow and ice and a re-inspection is performed, Bonanni said.

The County College of Morris and Randolph High School solar canopies are of a different design than those at Boonton High School and Mennen Arena.

Neither the Morris County structural engineer nor the solar contractor's professional engineer detected any points of structural failure. However, as an additional security measure aimed at protecting both students and staff, the County College of Morris will temporarily close down three of its parking lots until the solar contractor implements certain safety and repair measures.

In a similar manner and as a precautionary measure Randolph High School will temporarily cease parking under their solar canopies as the excessive amounts of snow have placed additional stress on the snow guards.

Meanwhile, Bonanni said the county will have its solar professionals continue to monitor this situation with regard to both roof mounted and canopy style solar panels, since ensuring the safety of all is the county's highest priority.

As always, Bonanni said, safety will be the overriding factor in dealing with any issues that might arise in the next few days as the thawing cycle continues.

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