The Victorian government has implemented its new large scale solar development guidelines.
Planning Minister Richard Wynne said the new guidelines would provide certainty and confidence to the sector and encourage greater investment.
Mr Wynne introduced an amendment to all Victorian planning schemes, implementing the Solar Energy Facilities - Design and Development Guideline.
"We've listened to the community and included a best practice approach to consultation, ensuring people can have their say from an early stage, well before a planning permit is lodged," Mr Wynne said.
"The guidelines brings a consistent approach to assessing the appropriateness of solar developments, giving the renewable energy industry more confidence to invest."
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Mr Wynne said the guidelines ensured new solar energy facilities, producing one megawatt or more, were built in appropriate locations which:
- are easily accessible to the electricity transmission network
- avoid or minimise impacts on their local environments
- consider impacts on productive agricultural areas, irrigated areas and areas of environmental importance.
He said they also included a range of best-practice approaches to help developers engage with communities and ensure the least possible environmental and social impacts of their proposals.
The guidelines were shaped by a nine-month development process, including extensive consultation with communities, councils and industry and a review of best-practice standards interstate and internationally.
In addition to implementing the guidelines, the amendment also brought permit assessment for solar facilities in line with large scale wind farms, where the Planning Minister was the responsible authority.
Mr Wynne said the consolidated approach would reduce the administrative burden on councils and provide consistent decision making across the state.