SHELTON — Solar panels will soon be part of the River Road landscape.

The Planning and Zoning Commission, at its meeting Wednesday, approved a special exception for USS Shelton Solar LLC, a subsidiary of Minnesota-based US Solar Corp. This will allow the firm to construct a 975-kilowatt community solar garden on 5.9 acres of a 102-acre parcel at 866 River Road.

“I’m all for renewable energy,” commissioner Charles Kelly said. “I think this is a very good project.”

Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority owns the property, which is a capped landfill. The P&Z decision is contingent on further approval for the project from the Inland Wetlands Commission, which commissioners stated is expected.

USS Shelton Solar selected the site because it offers unobstructed access to natural sunlight, does not impact any wetlands or neighboring properties, gives adequate space for setbacks or landscape screening, and has proximity to distribution facilities, according to the application.

An existing United Illuminating substation is also nearby.

The project will “generate enough electricity to power approximately 225 homes annually and interconnect directly to the existing distribution system of the United Illuminating Co.,” the application says.

“Residents, businesses and public entities in and around (the) city of Shelton who are United Illuminating customers may subscribe to a portion of the electricity generated and receive bill credits on their United Illuminating bills,” the application states. “In this way, local residents and businesses receive a direct economic benefit from the project.”

According to the application, the Shelton public school district has expressed interest in becoming a subscriber to the solar garden.

The project is mostly composed of solar panels, inverters and racking. The developer will use a ballasted system to avoid disturbing the underlying closed landfill. Racking is installed on top of concrete footings to ensure long-term stability and structural soundness. The use of footings will also facilitate decommissioning at the end of the life of the project, as they are easily removed, the application states.

“We also use Tier 1 solar panels to achieve high efficiency and conform to high quality control and safety standards,” the developer states. “Most importantly, we will provide noninvasive, ongoing maintenance of all our solar gardens, both equipment and site conditions.

“On a regular schedule, we will analyze project performance, detecting and diagnosing any production anomalies, identifying and addressing underperformance issues, managing service teams and technicians and contacting landowners and the utility, if necessary,” it said.

USS Shelton Solar is contracted to deliver electricity for 20 years beginning on the date of commercial operation, which is expected to begin in 2020.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com