Households win right to fight for sunlight on their solar panels

By Adam Carey & Benjamin Preiss

11 September 2018 — 6:34pm

Homeowners with rooftop solar systems will be protected from neighbouring property developments overshadowing their roofs under changes to planning rules the Andrews government has introduced.

The new residential planning rules, to be brought in later this month, will mean that overshadowing of existing solar panels and hot water systems will have to be considered in residential planning decisions.

While the new planning regulations will not give homeowners any automatic veto over high-density developments next door, it will increase protections for the solar panels just as the Victorian government promises large subsidies for uptake of the technology.

A number of rulings from the state planning tribunal have called for a Victoria-wide law for overshadowing of panels, as up until now access to solar power has been largely decided on an ad hoc basis.

There will also be new guidelines for solar panels installed in heritage listed neighbourhoods, specifying appropriate colours, positioning and design.