The NSW government has published an energy guideline document for large-scale solar projects in order to provide the community, industry, and regulators with guidance on the planning framework for the assessment and approval of large-scale solar energy development proposals.

The Large-Scale Solar Energy Guideline is for solar energy development proposals under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act), and is designed for projects which are classified as being of ‘State significant development’ (SSD).

Under the EP&A Act, a solar energy development is SSD if it:
• has a capital investment value (CIV) of more than $30 million; or
• has a CIV of more than $10 million and is in an environmentally sensitive area of State significance.

The Guideline outlines the key assessment issues such as land use conflict, biodiversity and visual impacts. It also seeks to encourage genuine and early consultation with the community and stakeholders, consistent with best practice engagement principles. 

The NSW government says the Guideline has been designed to address the potential development impacts of solar energy infrastructure as fully as possible.

The draft of the NSW Large-Scale Solar Energy Guideline will be on public exhibition until 16 February 2018 on the NSW Department of Planning website.