New guideline to grow NSW’s solar industry

A proposed new guideline will encourage opportunities to harness solar energy, and ensure the interests of local communities are considered during project assessment.

NSW is already the national leader in solar energy development and, according to the Department of Planning and Environment’s Deputy Secretary for Policy, Strategy and Governance, Alison Frame, the state has the potential to continue its strong growth.

“We have three large-scale solar farms in regional NSW, including the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere at Nyngan, which combined with Moree and Broken Hill provide 215 megawatts of power,” Ms Frame said.

“The department has approved a further 16 projects, which will provide additional generation capacity of 1405 megawatts, enough to power about 525,000 homes.

“Many other projects, representing more than 3000 megawatts of generation capacity, are already in the assessment system. If approved, this would provide enough clean energy for up to one million more homes across the state.

“Despite already being the national leader in solar energy, there’s still plenty of opportunity to grow the sector in NSW. That’s why we have launched the Large-Scale Solar Energy Guideline.”

The guideline will assist potential new entrants in the market understand what is expected of any development. The guideline aims to:

  • lead to better outcomes from solar energy projects;
  • support earlier engagement with local communities and councils; and
  • provide clear assessment guidance by outlining the government expectations.

“The guideline will explain what is expected of developments at every stage of the planning process,” Ms Frame said.

“And while the guideline has been written for large, state significant solar developments, the principles and assessment issues outlined could also be applied by councils to local-scale solar development.”

The community is invited to have their say on the proposed guideline, which is on public exhibition until Friday, 16 February 2018. To make a submission or for more information, visit https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/solar