Walmart has received permission to put solar energy panels on the roof of its Shelton store. There would be 1,080 panels on the flat roof, providing from 20% to 40% of the electricity used by the big-box store on an annual basis. About 40% of the roof\u2019s surface would be covered by panels. To cut down on the visual impact for a few nearby homeowners, two or three evergreen trees will be planted on two properties at the Heritage Pointe residential development off Buddington Road. The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) unanimously approved the solar panel plan at its March 11 meeting. P&Z member Anthony Pogoda, who lives on one of the two Heritage Pointe properties where trees would be planted, abstained from the vote. Two companies handling project The Walmart is at 465 Bridgeport Ave. No representatives from Walmart were at the P&Z meeting. The work will be done by Greenskies and Centerplan Construction, both based in Middletown. The companies, both of which had officials at the meeting, have installed solar panels on other Walmart stores in New England and New York state in the past. The Walmart solar panels will not generate excess electricity that can be sold to the grid. \u2018A geometric design\u2019 Steven DeNino of Greenskies said the panels would be laid out in \u201ca geometric design\u201d that will include 10- to 15-feet-wide snow aisles, where there will be no panels. DeNino said each panel is 6.5-feet by 3.5-feet in size and weighs about 50 pounds. They are made of a low-glare glass and are \u201cblueish-black\u201d in color. They will be placed about 15 inches above the roof surface, and mechanically fastened to the roof. The panels will face south. The solar energy set-up will have a web-based monitoring system, providing updates every 15 minutes or so, and will be regularly maintained, DeNino said. Snow, wind and glare concerns When asked about issues with glare, DeNino said some of the same panels were placed near an airport in Meriden and there have been no complaints about glare problems from pilots or airport officials. Some questions also were asked about the possible impact of snow and wind on the panels on top of the roof. DeNino said the system has been \u201cfully engineered for wind and snow load.\u201d He assured the P&Z the panels are \u201cdesigned to handle the weight\u201d of snow in the winter, and as for wind, similar panels on buildings in New Jersey remained in place during Hurricane Sandy. \u201cWe didn\u2019t lose a single panel,\u201d DeNino said. Visible impact While the panels should not be visible from the store\u2019s parking lot, it's likely they will be seen from a few properties off Buddington Road that overlook the Walmart store and parking lot. Company representatives walked Heritage Pointe with P&Z staff, and staff then suggested putting up a few trees as a buffer in one corner of the residential development. William Herchel of Greenskies raised concerns about the cost of putting in trees, and questioned why they would be needed. Richard Schultz, P&Z administrator, said trees now in place don\u2019t form an \u201cadequate evergreen buffer.\u201d P&Z members said the new trees are necessary for both aesthetic and glare reasons. The P&Z approval requires the trees to be planted to \u201cfill gaps\u201d in the current tree buffer at the two impacted Heritage Pointe properties.