Do I need planning permission for solar panels?

Solar Panels

Installing solar panels on your home or garage may sound an attractive proposition – after all, you can save money on your energy bills ­– but will you need permission to put them in place? Find out more…

The good news is that since 2008, solar panels intended for installation on residential land and buildings is deemed to be permitted development. Regular readers of our blog will know that this means that homeowners do not have to apply for planning permission or submit plans before installation.

There are, however, some requirements that you must adhere to. For example:

  • The solar panels should be sited to minimise the effect on the external appearance of the building.
  • If the panels become broken or are no longer in use, they must be removed as soon as is practical.
  • The panels also should not sit above the highest part of your roof, nor stick out more than 200mm from the roof slope or wall surface.

However, if you live in a conservation area, your property is listed, or designated as a scheduled monument, then permitted development will not apply to you.

This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to fit solar panels. But you will need to notify both the council and the conservation team about your intentions via the submission of a planning application, and it will be less likely that the panels will be allowed to be fixed to a wall or roof facing the road.

Standalone panels

There are some extra requirements for standalone panels. You won’t need planning permission for the first installation but any that follow will need permission. Standalone arrays are restricted to 9 square metres and must be no taller than 4 metres. They also need to be sited 5m or more from your property.

What about building regulations?

There have been instances where councils have used the issue of building regulations to prevent solar panel installation, however this shouldn’t apply if you use a contractor who belongs to an approved ‘competent persons’ scheme. You can find a list of the approved schemes from the Communities and Local Government (CLG) department.

Remember also that if you are a leaseholder you may need to get permission from your landlord, freeholder or management company for the installation.

Solar panels on non-domestic buildings

The installation of solar panels on non-domestic buildings and land may also be ‘permitted development’ with no need to apply to the Local Planning Authority for planning permission. However, there are additional limits and conditions compared to the rules for residential properties, which must be met to benefit from these permitted development rights. It should be noted that you might also require the Council’s ‘Prior Approval’, obtained via an application. Please get in touch to learn more.

If you would like to discuss your own project with us, or just find out more about what we do, please continue to browse the website or drop us an email to: without obligation.