Home-owners looking to cut power bills with rooftop solar will have their systems protected from overshadowing by neighbouring developments, under new planning provisions from the Victorian State Government.
The move will safeguard savings on power bills and follows the recent announcement of the Solar Homes program, which will install half-price solar panels on 650,000 homes across Victoria over ten years.
The changes mean overshadowing of existing home solar panels and solar hot water systems must be considered in planning decisions – ensuring the capacity of an existing rooftop solar facility on a neighbouring property in most areas is not unreasonably reduced.
Victoria’s Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, approved the amendment to the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes to recognise the contribution of solar energy to the energy efficiency of dwellings. The new provisions were to take effect from late September.
“We’re backing solar and tackling power prices head on – making it cheaper and easier for more people to generate their own power and protecting their panels from overshowing, said the Minister.
“We’re getting the planning right to protect residents against inappropriate development, tackle climate change and cut the cost of living for Victorian households,” he added.
The Government’s Solar Homes program will offer subsidised solar panels with interest free loans, and incentives to upgrade to solar hot water. This will help Victorians save close to $900 a year on power bills – savings further locked in with new planning provisions to consider impacts of overshadowing.
In other measures, the amendment introduces criteria for solar panels in heritage areas – including guidance on appropriate siting, colour and design – which safeguard the aesthetic value of the area.
The new criteria will encourage renewable energy in heritage areas while protecting aesthetic values and are applicable to new systems only.