The ongoing development of the solar energy industry will assist in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and in delivering a reliable and affordable energy supply to the people of NSW.
The NSW Government’s Large-Scale Solar Energy Guideline (2018) provided the community, industry and regulators with information on the planning framework for the assessment and approval of state significant solar energy projects.
The department has updated the guideline to include advice on a range of assessment matters including visual impacts and agricultural land use, to ensure the assessment of large-scale solar energy projects continues to be transparent, consistent and supported by the best available information.
The updated guideline was informed by extensive consultation and feedback received from the community, industry and regulators on the assessment of large-scale solar energy projects since the introduction of the guideline in 2018.
Key updates to the guideline include:
- Visual impact assessment: a framework to improve consistency of the visual impact assessment and to better outline how proponents should engage with the community, how impacts should be classified and what measures should be taken to address any impacts
- Agricultural land: clear requirements that outline the process for assessing impacts on agricultural land and principles to encourage development on land with limited agricultural productivity
- Glint and glare: guidance for the assessment of glint and glare, including objectives that outline acceptable thresholds
- Waste management: prioritisation of re-use and recycling of solar photovoltaic panels and associated infrastructure where possible
- Decommissioning and rehabilitation: guidance to ensure the land is returned to pre-existing use after the project is decommissioned.
Proposed changes to the guideline were on exhibition from 17 December 2021 to 25 February 2022. All submissions and feedback received during exhibition have now been considered and are available to view below.
The revised guideline was finalised in August 2022.