WALLINGFORD — A solar project off Creek Road has been granted a state permit to begin construction.
The Public Utility Commission, which is the state body that oversees power projects, issued its decision Friday via its website. According to the order, Wallingford Solar LLC, which intends to build a 2.2-megawatt solar facility at 139 Creek Road, the site of an old gravel bed, has been granted a “certificate of public good,” subject to a number of conditions.
The project was proposed last fall and stirred little controversy, ultimately gaining the support of the town and a letter from the Rutland Regional Planning Commission saying the project conforms with the regional plan.
Wallingford Solar LLC is run by Thomas Hand, who has an office in Manchester. He did not respond to an email sent Friday seeking comment.
Last week, a draft permit was filed for the PUC’s consideration.
The PUC placed a number of conditions upon the project.
If Wallingford Solar deviates substantially from the plans it has filed, it has to notify the PUC and receive approval to do so.
Construction hours will be limited to between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the week, and between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturdays. No construction will happen on Sundays, or during state or federal holidays.
Wallingford Solar is responsible for any upgrades to the electrical infrastructure needed to connect the facility to the grid. It must also obtain an interconnection agreement with Green Mountain Power before going online.
Once the facility is no longer active, Wallingford Solar is responsible for removing it and returning the site back to its original condition. It’s required as well to obtain a $121,500 line of credit to be used as a decommissioning fund, and to update it every three years to be in line with inflation.
The fence surrounding the project will have 6-by-6-inch openings around the bottom to allow small animals to pass through.
Any “primary agricultural soils” removed by the project have to be stockpiled. Vehicles heavier than 12,000 pounds can’t be run over any wet primary agricultural soils. There is to be no grading of these soils, except for what’s needed on the access road and transformer pad.
The certificate of public good doesn’t allow any work to be done within 100 feet of the western bank of Otter Creek. The arrays themselves also have to be 1 foot above the “base flood elevation” of the creek.
According to previous filings made by Wallingford Solar, the property the project will be on is about 50 acres, though the arrays will only take up about 17. Construction will take 20 weeks. About 7 acres of vegetation will be cleared. Noise produced by the facility once it’s done is expected to be minimal.