A major new solar farm north of Shepparton is in the works following approval from the Victorian Government.
The State Government has also released draft planning guidelines for the development of large solar farm projects across the state.
Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, announced that he has approved the Congupna solar farm proposal, which will produce 30MW of clean energy, enough to power 10,000 homes, and create around 110 jobs.
The project will be built on non-irrigated agricultural land and drive around $38 million in capital expenditure.
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.
Minister Wynne also released the draft Solar Energy Facilities – Design and Development Guidelines for comment.
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.
“We’re working with industry and community to make sure solar farm developments deliver the right outcomes for communities, the environment and jobs,” Minister Wynne said.
The document was informed by a review of guidelines and best practice standards interstate and internationally. It also includes best practice guidance for proponents to help developers engage with communities, and minimise the environmental and social impacts of their proposals.
“These new guidelines will provide more certainty to the community, and more confidence to invest in major solar farms like the one at Congupna,” Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said.