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The Villages
Sunday, May 15, 2022

Solar power may not be up to snuff for illuminating tunnels in The Villages

Some officials believe solar power may not be up to snuff for illuminating tunnels on multi-modal paths in The Villages.

Some of the solar panels at tunnels are wearing out and in some locations vegetation has grown up and is blocking the sun from the power-collecting panel, according to Bruce Brown, director of District Property Management.

A solar panel collects sunlight to light up this tunnel at County Road 466 and Morse Boulevard
A solar panel collects sunlight to light up this tunnel at County Road 466 and Morse Boulevard.

He said his department will be evaluating each tunnel to determine whether the solar panels are collecting enough energy to properly light the tunnels at night. If not, some tunnel lights could be converted back to electricity and the lights would be controlled by timers. Replacing solar panels and batteries can be quite expensive, Brown said.

“We had a study some time ago showing that the payback in solar just wasn’t there,” said Community Development District 6 Supervisor John Calandro.

A solar panel is used to light up this tunnel near Laurel Manor Recreation Center
A solar panel is used to light up this tunnel near Laurel Manor Recreation Center.

CDD 6 Supervisor Peter Moeller said he would like to see a discussion about the future of the solar-powered lights put on the agenda for an upcoming meeting of the Project Wide Advisory Committee, which oversees infrastructure and amenities south of State Road 466.

What has been successful at the tunnels is the recent project to paint and whitewash the walls in order to brighten them up, Moeller said.

“We need to keep moving ahead with that,” Moeller said.

Fellow CDD 6 Supervisor Tom Griffith championed that effort after he experienced a near miss in a tunnel.

A Villages Homeowners Advocates golf cart safety expert said 80 percent of crashes in The Villages are happening at tunnels.

Do you think solar power should be abandoned for lighting up tunnels in The Villages? Share your thoughts in a Letter to the Editor at [email protected]

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