Since 2010, the Federal Government has provided incentives to encourage Australians to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by installing solar photovoltaic panels in their homes. Since then, the price of power has risen, the cost of solar panels has fallen, and government incentives have also dropped.

It can be very confusing when considering installing solar panels: what size system you should install? Who should you hire to install?

If you want to install solar panels in your roof and receive federal renewable energy certificates, you must meet the following requirements:

  • solar panel installation must comply with state regulations for siting panels and building codes, including requirements for panel mountings and connections
  • installers must be both Clean Energy Council accredited and licensed electricians, with the exemption of some remote non-grid connections
  • installers of small generation units must document how they have met the above requirements.

If you want to receive the Federal Government’s feed in tariff (the rate you are paid for returning excess energy your solar panels produce back to the main power grid), the solar photovoltaic panels must be supplied and installed by a registered agent listed on either the Clean Energy Council or the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator websites.

Non-certified/approved solar photovoltaic panels can be used in Australia but won’t attract any government incentives.

The Clean Energy Council has produced an easy to read guide for households considering installing solar panels.

Do I need a building permit to install solar panels?

You may need a building permit to install solar panels on an existing building. It depends on:

  • local topography and winds  
  • the strength and design of the roof.

The siting of solar panels on an existing roof must be carefully considered to ensure the building retains its structural integrity. In some cases, wall frames and/or the roof may need to be strengthened.

You may also need a planning permit to install solar panels on buildings within the Heritage Overlays of the Campaspe Planning Scheme or on buildings close to the Echuca Airport and surrounds.

New buildings can easily have their structural framework designed to support solar panels on the roof.

If you are considering installing solar panels to an existing building, you can contact Council’s Building Services Unit for information and advice on whether a building permit is required.

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