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Install solar panels

You may need a Planning Permit, a Building Permit or both to install solar panels on your property.

How to use this guide

To help you work out which permits you need, begin at Step 1 and answer the questions one at a time. You may need to refer to the design and structure of the solar panel installation.

If you need help with Planning Permits, contact our Statutory Planning team on 9278 4888 or email Statutory Planning.
 
If you need help with Building Permits, contact our Building Services team on 9278 4999 or email Building Services.

Before you begin

Check if a Heritage Overlay affects your works

  1. Go to Planning Maps Online and search for the address of your property.

  2. Follow the prompts to create and open a free Planning Property Report.

  3. On the Report, go to the Planning Overlay section to see whether a Heritage Overlay affects your property.
  4. In the Planning Overlay section, look at the map to see the area of your site covered by the Heritage Overlay. Refer to your plans to see whether you will be performing works in that area.

Will you be installing solar panels in a Heritage Overlay?

 

 

 

Check if your property is on the Victorian Heritage Register

  1. Refer to the report from Planning Maps Online.
  2. Look for the Heritage Overlay Schedule link and take note of the schedule number.
  3. Click the Heritage Overlay Schedule link. The Schedule to the Heritage Overlay page appears.
  4. Find your schedule number. See whether the 'Included on the Victorian Heritage Register' column displays 'Yes' for your schedule number.

If the property is on the Victorian Heritage Register:

  • You may need approval from Heritage Victoria for or any buildings and works including internal changes. Contact Heritage Victoria for advice on how to apply for their approval.
  • You may continue to apply for other permits while your Heritage Victoria application is being assessed. But you can only begin construction after all necessary approvals and permits are granted.

Is your property listed on the Victorian Heritage Register?

Check the visibility of solar panels in a Heritage Overlay

 Look at the design of your solar panel installation and the position of your property in relation to nearby streets (excluding laneways) and public parks.

Will solar panels in a Heritage Overlay be visible from a street or public park?

 

 

 

 

Apply for a Planning Permit, if needed

If you have determined that you need a Planning Permit for your project, follow these steps.

  1. Obtain a clear copy of your Certificate of Title, including the lot plan. You can get this from the Landata website. The Certificate of Title must be no more than 28 days old.
  2. Write a cover letter explaining your proposal.
  3. Write a neighbourhood and site description.
  4. Obtain a design response or explanation of the proposed use. A design response is a plan that depicts how the proposed design responds to its context. It supports the proposal by showing how the design works within the site's constraints.
  5. Obtain a plan drawn to scale (1:100 or 1:200) with full dimensions. The plan must show the site, floor layout and elevations.
  6. Your application is eligible for VicSmart. Follow the VicSmart process to fast-track your application.
  7. Complete the Planning Permit application form and lodge the form, fee and supporting documents with Council. 
    To download the form and submit the application, see Apply for a Planning Permit.
  8. Now, check whether you need a Building Permit.

Application fees

If the cost of the development is less than $10,000, the fee is $199.90.

If the cost of development is more than $10,000, the fee is $429.50.

Check if the panels need structural support

Consult the design to see whether the panels can be fixed directly to the roof, or whether you'll need to add extra supporting mechanisms.

Attached solar panel
Solar panel with a supporting structure

Will the solar panels be fixed directly to the roof?

  • If yes, you do not need a Building Permit. As long as there are no planning restrictions, you can install the solar panels.

    Make sure that you follow the manufacturer's specifications and recommendations. You can now exit this guide.
  • If no, check the impact on structural safety.

 

 

 

Check if the installation impacts general structural safety

Consider the design of the supporting mechanisms for the solar panel.

Structural alterations to the existing roof can affect the soundness of the building. In addition, structures supporting a solar panel can add additional load to the roof.

 

Will the panels' supporting mechanisms impact structural safety?

  • If yes, apply for a Building Permit.
  • If no, you do not need a Building Permit. As long as there are no planning restrictions, you can install the solar panels.

    Make sure that you follow the manufacturer's specifications and recommendations.

    You can now exit this guide.

 

 

 

 

 

Apply for a Building Permit, if needed

If you have determined that you need a Building Permit for your project, follow these steps.

  1. Read the Building Permit application checklist to determine which supporting documents you need for your circumstances. If you are unsure what you need, contact the Building Services team on 9278 4999 or email Building Services.
  2. Complete the Application for a Building Permit.
  3. Lodge the Building Permit application form, fee and supporting documents with Council, as instructed on the application form. For fee information email Building Services.

You can only begin your installation after the Building Permit is granted.

You may exit the guide.

 

 

 

 

Timeline

Planning Permit applications to install solar panels are eligible to be fast-tracked through VicSmart and can therefore be processed within 10 business days.

Building Permit applications are assessed within 10 business days. The initial response is usually a request for further information.