Planning permission for solar panels

In England and Scotland installing panels on your roof is probably going to be 'permitted development' so there should be no need to seek planning permission.

There are exceptions and a quick call to you local planning office is strongly advised before you begin any project.

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Leaseholders must get permission from the landlord, freeholder or Management Company.

If the property is a listed building you will probably require listed building consent even if you don’t need planning permission.

General Principles

Panels on a building should be sited, so far as is practicable, to minimise the effect on the appearance of the building. They should be sited, so far as is practicable, to minimise the effect on the amenity of the area. When they are no longer needed for microgeneration they should be removed as soon as possible.

Roof and Wall Mounted Solar Panels

An installation will generally be permitted unless:

  • The panels are installed above the ridgeline
  • The panels protrude more then 200mm from the wall of roof surface when installed
  • They are visible from a road or highway in a Conservation Area or World Heritage Site, particularly for wall mounted panels
  • If wall mounted panels are to be fitted to a building in your garden or grounds they should not be visible from the highway

In Scotland the following additional restrictions apply:

  • if the building contains a flat, the panels should not be installed on any part of the external walls of the building
  • The panels should not be situated within 1 metre from the edge of the roof or protrude more than 1 metre above the plane of the roof panels when installed on a flat roof
  • The panels should not project higher than the highest point of the roof (excluding the chimney)

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Standalone Solar Panels

The following restrictions apply to free standing solar panels:

  • The should not be more than 4 metres in height
  • The should be installed less than 5 metres away from any boundary (England Only)
  • The maximum area of array should not exceed 9m2 or 3m wide and 3m deep
  • Should not be installed within boundary of a listed building
  • In the case of land in a conservation area or in a World Heritage Site it should not be visible from the highway.
  • Only one stand alone solar installation is permitted.

Additionally in Scotland the following restrictions apply:

  • The panels should be installed a distance from the curtilage (the piece of ground attached to a house, but can usually taken to be the land within the boundaries of the property) of the dwelling house which is greater than the height of the array
  • Panels cannot be installed within the curtilage of a listed building

Before you start your project find out more detailed information.

Building Regulations

Building regulations will normally apply and some things to consider include the ability of the existing roof to carry the load (weight) of the panel; some strengthening work may be needed.

Building regulations also apply to other aspects of the work such as electrical installation. A qualified installer will be able to advise you.

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