The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) recently quashed a proposal for two double-storey dwellings in a Kensington street in December that would have overshadowed a residents solar panels. In light of this judgement and the growing number of disputes regarding solar panels in Victoria, there have been calls for more clarity in statewide planning guidelines.

VCAT designated the case a “red dot decision”, highlighting its significance. The loss of solar power was estimated at 50 to 70 per cent, with the development threatening to overshadow the solar panels between 9am until after midday. VCAT member Mary-Anne Taranto said existing guidance on solar panels was limited and resulted in decisions made on an ad-hoc basis.

“It would appear timely for there to be consistent and clear guidance on a statewide basis to create greater certainty about what might be regarded as acceptable impacts,” Ms Taranto said.

Spokeswoman for the Department of Planning and Community Development Kirsten Howe said the department was investigating the issue. The Government has faced a dilemma to announce clearer guidelines whilst at the same time encouraging more high density urban living.