Do you need planning permissions for Solar Panels?

In this blog we’ll explore whether UK residents require planning permission for solar panel installation.

Typically, you won’t need to apply for planning permission to install solar panels on your property. Solar panels can be designated ‘Permitted Development’, meaning that planning permission is no longer necessary. 

Solar panels are subject to usual building regulations, which involves checking that the property’s roof can support the extra load.

There are conditions to adhere to when installing solar panels;

  • The system cannot be higher than the highest part of the roof (excluding any chimney).
  • 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 protrude more than 0.2 meters beyond the plane of the roof slope.
domestic solar panel installation norfolk
A domestic solar panel installation for a customer in Norfolk

What if my solar installation is on my land and not my property?

Regulations and planning permissions are slightly different when installing solar panels on land that you own, such as inside gardens or fields. The first standalone solar PV installation is considered Permitted Development. However beyond that, any additional units will require planning permission to ensure:

  • The solar panels must be sited in a way that least impacts the appearance of the area, and at least 5 meters from the edge of your property.
  • The system must not stand taller than 4m, and must not exceed an area 9m².

Do you need planning permission for solar panels on a commercial property?

There are significant benefits to be had from investing in solar energy, for businesses both industrial, large and small. With rising energy costs, putting your commercial roof space to good use can be a financially beneficial decision in the medium to short term. Many commercial organisations have already realised the huge potential income/saving stream available from solar energy. 

It is always recommended to check with your local council first before installing solar panels on a commercial property.

All the following conditions must be met when installing solar panels for a commercial property:

  • Solar panels installed on a wall or a pitched roof should project no more than 200mm from the wall surface or roof slope.
  • Where panels are installed on a flat roof the highest part of the equipment should not be more than one metre above the highest part of the roof (excluding the chimney).
  • Equipment mounted on a roof must not be within one metre of the external edge of that roof.
  • Equipment mounted on a wall must not be within one metre of a junction of that wall with another wall or with the roof of the building.
  • The panels must not be installed on a listed building or on a building that is within the grounds of a listed building, or on a site designated as a scheduled monument.
  • If the building is on Article 2(3) designated land* the equipment must not be installed on a wall or a roof slope which fronts a highway.
  • If the equipment is on the roof of the building the capacity for generation of electricity across the whole of the site cannot exceed 1 megawatt.
  • Other than microgeneration solar thermal equipment or microgeneration solar PV equipment, if there is to be any other solar PV equipment installed on the roof of a building then the Prior Approval (56 days) of the Local Planning Authority is required. This will assess the design and external appearance of the development, particularly in respect of the impact of glare on occupiers of neighbouring land.

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