New mini ‘Green Monster’ at Haydon Field has a bright side
Updated 4:31 am, Monday, April 25, 2016
FAIRFIELD — It’s not exactly the iconic Green Monster at Boston’s Fenway Park, but there’s a new wall in the outfield at the town’s Tom Haydon ballfield on Old Dam Road.
The town has installed an array of solar panels in right field at the Haydon facility, which is used for softball games. According to Assistant Public Works Director Ed Boman, the solar panels will generate electricity not only for lights at the softball field, but also for the nearby Pop Warner football field and concession stand, and lighting for the Kiwanis baseball field.
“There will be a screen protecting the solar panels,” according to Boman. “In any case, they would not be injured by a hit softball.”
Recreation Director Gerald Lombardo said his department gave the go-ahead for the solar-energy project with the expectation the panels would not interfere games. The Haydon field is home to men’s , women’s and co-ed softball teams in the town’s recreation leagues, and is also usually used by the Fairfield Ludlowe High School softball team.
However, because of the work to install the solar panels, and subsequent damage to the field, the high school softball games have been relocated to fields at Veres, Sturges and Owen Fish parks. The ballfield was damaged by trucks used during construction, and the contractor has repaired and re-sodded it, according to Boman.
Maintenance of the panels should not prove detrimental to the field, Boman said. “Maintenance is minor, and would require no trucks on the field,” he said.
He said installation of the solar panels in the outfield was approved by the Board of Selectmen two years ago. First Selectman Michael Tetreau said officials initially considered putting the panels at either the Pop Warner or Kiwanis fields, but settled instead at Haydon field.
This is one of many solar-panel installations the town has erected, which officials say have been carried out at no cost to the municipality. The projects usually involve 20-year leases with a solar-energy contractor, and the town purchases electricity generated by the panels at lower costs.
Other local solar-panel projects include panels behind the new teen/tennis center on Old Dam Road, school roofs, the Jennings Road Fire Station, the former landfill, Fire Department headquarters and solar carports at the Postol Recreation Center on Mill Plain Road. A solar carport installation proposed for the downtown train station was scuttled after Mosswood Condominium neighbors objected late last year.
The project at the teen/tennis center originally called for solar-panel carports as well, but that feature was dropped because of neighbors’ objections. Low-lying solar panels behind the building, and screened by trees, will be installed instead.