By Bill Shields

QUINCY (CBS) – A Quincy man spent thousands to put up an array of solar panels in his backyard. He got the necessary permits and even got permission from neighbors. But just as he was about to finish, the city forced him to make changes.

Walter Cowham no longer pays for electricity thanks to the array that is 50 feet wide and 6 feet tall.

“It’s actually negative, a negative value,” says Cowham. “They end up owing me.”

But Walter’s triumph wasn’t without trouble. The solar array used to be ten feet taller; it was much more visible from Adams St, and from his neighbors’ homes.

So the city of Quincy made him downsize after the project was completed.

“He installed a fence between him and his neighbors, so that lessened the impact, the visual impact that he had,” says Jay Duca of Quincy Inspectional Services.

Now, the solar panels don’t stand out so much. Still, some neighbors say it’s too big for the neighborhood.

“It’s too industrial,” says neighbor Bob Morris. “It doesn’t fit; it doesn’t conform with the rest of the neighborhood.”

Walter has tried to make everyone happy, but for now, he’ll settle for not having to pay an electric bill. With the savings he is seeing, Walter says his investment will be paid off within five years.


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