Do You Need Planning Permission To Install Solar Panels?

As energy prices increase, people are increasingly looking to new, more economic ways of generating power and heat for their homes and businesses. Solar Panels are still a popular alternative to traditional energy providers.

Do you need planning permission to install solar panels?

Solar panels can be designated ‘Permitted Development’, meaning that planning permission is no longer necessary. There are exceptions to this – see below.

The Government extended Permitted Development Rights, meaning planning permission is no-longer required to install solar PV or solar thermal on non-domestic buildings. It is worth noting that there are sometimes ownership as well as planning considerations to bear in mind when dealing with commercial properties, but in principle you do not need planning permission to install solar panels on a commercial property, as long as you adhere to specific criteria.

In both cases, solar panels are subject to normal building regulations, which involves checking that the roof can support the extra load – your installer should check this for you. There are also some conditions that your solar panel system has to comply with:

  • The system should be installed in such a way that the effect on the external appearance of the building and the amenity of the area is minimal.
  • When no longer needed, equipment should be removed as soon as reasonably practicable.
  • The system cannot be higher than the highest part of the roof (excluding any chimney).
  • The system cannot protrude more than 0.2 meters beyond the plane of the roof slope.

When is Planning Permission Required?

On flat roofs If you want to install solar panels on a flat roof you will probably need planning permission. The reason for this is that solar panels on a flat roof are usually placed in frames to create an angle towards the sun. This means they typically need to protrude more than 0.2 meters above the roof slope which is contrary to the “permitted development” guidelines.

Listed Buildings Whilst it may be possible to install solar panels on a building that is located within the grounds of a listed building or on a site that is considered to be a scheduled monument. It requires listed building consent followed by applying for planning permission.

Conservation Areas If you live in a conservation area, it may be possible to install a solar PV system under permitted development rights, however a planning application would be required if it is proposed to install a solar PV system on a wall fronting a highway.

It is possible to receive planning permission in these cases, but this is at the discretion of your Local Planning Authority.

Planning can be a complicated beast, so depending on where you live there may be other issues that affect the installation of solar panels, for instance restrictions on your property. It is always worth double checking with your local authority before installing solar panels on your property.

Are Solar Panels Worth It?

According to the experts from Money Saving Expert, as well as saving you money on your energy bills, solar panels can also earn you cash. And panels can still generate some electricity on gloomy days. But with solar panels costing an average of £6,500, there are a few things you need to understand to work out if the sums add up. Read more in their very useful article: Solar panels – are they worth it? Installing solar panels is generally a straight forward exercise, but there may be a situation where you need the support of a Planning Consultant. Please do get in touch if you have any questions or if you need some advice – CONTACT US.

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