Victoria solar farm gets green light

A 30MW solar project has been approved and draft planning guidelines have been released by the Victorian Government.

The Congupma solar farm, located north of Shepparton, will produce enough energy to power 10,000 homes.

The project will be built on non-irrigated agricultural land and drive around $38 million in capital expenditure.

Victorian Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said the government had approved the solar farm proposal and released draft planning guidelines for the development of large solar farm projects across the state.

“The Congupna solar farm will create more than 100 new jobs and produce 30MW of new, clean energy – helping to drive down energy prices,” he said.

“We’re working with industry and community to make sure solar farm developments deliver the right outcomes for communities, the environment and jobs.”

A decision on the Tallygaroopna, Lemnos and Tatura East solar farm applications has been deferred until further strategic work is completed for the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District.

The draft guidelines will help inform councils, developers and communities on planning requirements for the large solar farm facilities to ensure they are built in the right locations, are easily accessible to the grid and that proposals give careful consideration to high productivity agricultural areas and sensitive landscapes.

The document was informed by a review of guidelines and best practice standards interstate and internationally.

It also includes a Best Practice Guide for Proponents to help developers engage with communities, and minimise the environmental and social impacts of their proposals.

Victorian Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said the guidelines would provide more certainty to the community, and more confidence to invest in major solar farms.

“We’re creating jobs, driving down power prices and combatting climate change with the biggest investment in renewable energy in Victoria’s history,” she said.

The Solar Energy Facilities – Design and Development Guidelines are open for public comment until January 30, 2019.