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Solar energy facilities in Victoria
The Minister for Planning is the responsible authority for new planning permit applications of all energy generation facilities that are 1 megawatt or greater. This includes both renewable solar energy facilities and non-renewable solar energy facilities.
The Minister is also responsible for new planning permit applications for utility installations. This includes installations that:
- send or distribute electricity, such as powerlines
- store electricity if the installed capacity is 1 megawatt or greater, such as battery and compressed air storage.
We provide a pre-application service to solar energy development applicants.
To request a pre-application meeting, download and complete the request form below then upload with other supporting documentation when requesting a pre-application meeting online.
Planning permit applications for renewable energy projects can be lodged online.
Design and development guideline
The Solar energy facilities design and development guideline supports the siting, design and assessment of large-scale solar energy facilities in Victoria.
Model permit conditions
Model planning permit conditions for solar energy facilities have been developed to help all parties involved in permit applications.
The model permit conditions are used for guidance only and are adapted depending on the individual circumstance of each solar energy proposal.
Solar energy amendments
Amendment VC224 (gazetted 28 October 2022) changes the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes to clarify the Victorian Government’s policy for the protection of declared irrigation districts and update references to the Solar Energy Facilities Design and Development Guideline which has been revised.
Amendment VC192 (gazetted 16 November 2020) changes the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes to make the Minister the responsible authority for all large energy generation facilities and utility installations.
Amendment VC161 (gazetted 17 September 2019) changes the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes to introduce new requirements for renewable energy facilities. The Minister for Planning is now the responsible authority for all new renewable energy facilities that are 1 megawatt or greater and associated utility installations.
Amendment VC159 (gazetted 8 August 2019) changes the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes to introduce and revise land use terms. This included amending the definition of ‘Utility installation’ to include transmit, distribute or store power, including battery storage.
Amendment VC157 (gazetted 15 March 2019) changes the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes so that a planning permit is required for a power line or substation required to connect an energy generation facility to the electricity network. This does not apply to generators that had planning approval prior to gazettal of the amendment.
Solar energy facilities on VicPlan
Solar energy facilities in Victoria can be viewed on VicPlan:
- Go to VicPlan
- Select the ‘Map’ tab from the main toolbar and select 'Layer Catalogue'.
- Expand 'Wind & Solar Farms' and select maps by ticking the check-box alongside each layer, then select 'OK'.
- The selected layers appear on the map and are listed in the layer control panel to the left of the map.
- Turn the layers on or off by selecting the relevant check-box.
Solar energy facilities in irrigation districts
The Secretary of DEECA (the department administering the Water Act 1989) is a recommending referral authority for permit applications for solar energy facilities within irrigation districts. The Secretary will advise the Minister for Planning on referred permit applications regarding irrigation infrastructure asset management and future planning.
The Solar energy facilities design and development guideline provides guidance on identifying suitable sites in irrigation districts and the importance of seeking assistance from DEECA early in the site selection phase of a project.
Ideally, a solar energy facility’s location should avoid land in a declared irrigation district that is, or was, serviced on 17 September 2019 by irrigation infrastructure managed by a rural water corporation unless the infrastructure has been, or is planned to be, decommissioned.
We strongly encourage you to engage with DEECA Water and Catchments Group early in the site selection phase of a project.
DEECA Water and Catchments Group will connect you with a rural water corporation, who can provide site-specific information on whether a proposed site:
- is within a declared irrigation district
- is serviced by irrigation infrastructure that the rural water corporation manages.
For a pre-application meeting with DEECA about a proposed site within an irrigation district, contact email@example.com
In Victoria, a permit is usually required to remove, destroy or lop native vegetation.
More information about native vegetation requirements.
Other solar energy resources
Publications and resources
Guide to benefit sharing options for renewable energy projects – Clean Energy Council
Community engagement guidelines for building powerlines for energy developments – Clean Energy Council
Guidelines for renewable energy installations – Country Fire Authority
Guidelines for the removal, destruction or lopping of native vegetation – Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Change
Protecting Victoria's environment – Biodiversity 2037 – Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Change
Noise from industry in regional Victoria – Environment Protection Authority, Victorian Government
Environmental guidelines for major construction sites – Environment Protection Authority, Victorian Government
Page last updated: 11/09/23