The Victorian state government has announced regulations to prevent overshadowing solar panels by new developments.
The new rulings will apply under amendments to the Victorian Planning Provisions and will come into effect in late September of 2018.
This means that in the future all planning schemes will need to consider how new developments impact on neighbouring properties that have existing solar installations. This includes properties with existing rooftop solar panels and solar hot water systems.
Overshadowing solar panels impacts on energy costs
To work to capacity, solar panels need to have good access to sunlight. Regular shading can negatively impact how well a solar power system performs.
The Andrews Government has announced new rules to prevent overshadowing of solar panels.
The state planning amendments should help ensure the capacity of existing solar installations is not impeded by shading.
The Planning Minister Richard Wynne approved the amendment. He said it will protect residents against inappropriate development, tackle climate change and cut the cost of living for Victorian households.
Victorian Government measures to support solar
This is part of a raft of measures by the Andrews government to support renewable energy in the state. Others include:
- New solar panel installation rebates of up to $2,225 for 650,000 homes.
- Interest-free loans plus the above rebate for new solar installations from July next year, if re-elected. This means that some households may not need any upfront payments for a solar panel installation.
- Solar battery installation rebates of up to $4,838 for 10,000 homes, also if re-elected.
In addition there is a $1,000 rebate for solar hot water installations for 60,000 homes.
The government’s investment in renewables also extends beyond residential use. It includes:
- Construction of six new wind and solar farms in regional Victoria.
- Construction of Victoria’s largest virtual power plant. The microgrid will work by discharging power from solar and battery installations at various properties, thereby boosting grid stability.
- Development of the Solar Victoria agency in the Latrobe Valley which will create up to 50 new jobs in the region. The agency will also serve as a hub for the Solar Homes program.
The government’s plan also includes meeting targets of 25 per cent renewable energy by 2020, and 40 per cent by 2025.