Chiocca About to Strike Gold in Rockland Hills?

August 11, 2011


Once upon a time, in the far corner of southeast Rockland, the town was trapped in a multi-million dollar snafu. The landfill, that should have lasted another twenty years, was suddenly beyond capacity and closed down. This was followed by a slew of fat-cat enviro-nazi mandates that had the town lining and capping a dozen acres of  now wasteland – in the name of junk science and on the taxpayers’ dime.


Since that time, things have quieted down at the old dump.  Aside from Peter salvaging an aluminum window or two through the years, the property was thought to be fruitless. Fast forward to 2011…when Town Administrator Allan Chiocca discussed with Larry Chaffee what was going in Canton MA. From that day on, Chiocca, Chaffee and  Jim Paul – along with the new  solar committee – began the process of exploring the possibilities of a Rockvegas solar farm.  After six meetings and only three months, Chiocca was able to wield his signature political machete through the thick jungle paths of bureaucracy… the same paths he has been clearing and maintaining for years in the game. Today, he has emerged from that red-tape jungle with  a complete RFP (request for proposal) in hand for the construction of a solar power station on the town-owned land that abuts Hanson and Hanover.   This facility could be a huge boon for Rockland if things progress according to Chiocca’s plan.

Information on what type of equipment might be used is still sketchy. With technology changing everyday, it will depend on the manufacturer who wins the bid. Some solar module manufacturers start with a round, single-crystal of silicon that is sliced into very thin wafers for their panels. These have electrical conductors plated to each side which are then sandwiched between a tempered glass front panel and a vacuum-sealed plastic or vinyl material backing. This assembly is then mounted in an aluminum frame, which allows easy attachment to mounting racks or a building structure.

Single-crystal cells with squared sides to allow closer cell placement.
Single-crystal cells with squared sides to allow closer cell placement.

Other solar module manufacturers start with a “block” of multi-crystalline silicon, which is also sliced into very thin wafers, and follows the same type assembly as the single-crystal module. Since a multi-crystalline material can be cast into larger square blocks than a round single-crystal can be “grown,” a square-shaped solar cell is easier to place close to each adjoining cell, allowing less material waste and more cell surface area per module frame size.

To achieve the same cell density, most round, single-crystal cells have each side cut off to create a square shape with rounded corners. This allows the same cell density per module frame-size, but at a higher material waste and cost. This technology is now being applied to a solar-quilt type material that might be considered for Beech Hill. will keep you abreast of all the latest developments as this project moves forward. Chiocca would not guesstimate the possible revenue to the town before all the bids are received.

The Rockland Board of Health, which now manages the property, has stated that any project that goes on the property must not interfere with the day to day operation of the recycling center.