I understand that having a solar panel installation can be daunting and there is a lot to consider, but there’s one aspect of having solar panels installed that’s a lot less stressful than you may think.

Planning Permission for Solar Panels

Will I require planning permission for solar panels?

This is a common question and many people think that filing for planning permission is a painstaking process, one they try to avoid at all costs and so you will be happy to know that planning permission is not necessary for having a solar panel installation (in most cases).

For those who don’t live in a listed building or a conservation area you have nothing to worry about and filing for planning permission is not necessary however it is advised that you contact building control/ local authority to inform them that you are thinking of having a solar panel installation. Due to a change to planning permission law a few years ago it is not necessary to enter that long planning permission process for a standard solar panel installation.

There may be requirements regarding the position of the solar panels etc, but your professional installer will be well aware of installation requirements, so you don’t have to worry.

It is advised that you do go with a professional installer who is accredited – This is vital for the requirements of the Feed in Tariff and by doing so you don’t have to worry about minor installation details such as the position of your panels and distance from roof edges etc.

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The Technical Details 

If you are interested in the fine details of a solar panel installations, including the exact positioning then you may find this part useful.

Here are some regulations that installers must adhere by:

  1. Solar panels must not be installed above the ridge line and shouldn’t project more than 200mm from the roof surface
  2. If your property is within a conservation area or World Heritage Site then your solar panels must not be visible from the high way
  3. Solar panels must be at least 5 metres from boundaries
  4. Should not exceed 4 metres in height
  5. The surface area of your solar array should not exceed 9 metres
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Full list of rules

Class A – Solar PV and solar thermal

Permitted development

A. The installation, alteration or replacement of solar PV or solar thermal equipment on—

(a) a dwellinghouse or a block of flats; or

(b) a building situated within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse or a block of flats.

Development not permitted

A.1. Development is not permitted by Class A if—

(a) the solar PV or solar thermal equipment would protrude more than 200 millimetres beyond the plane of the wall or the roof slope when measured from the perpendicular with the external surface of the wall or roof slope;

(b) it would result in the highest part of the solar PV or solar thermal equipment being higher than the highest part of the roof (excluding any chimney);

(c) in the case of land within a conservation area or which is a World Heritage Site, the solar PV or solar thermal equipment would be installed on a wall which fronts a highway;

(d) the solar PV or solar thermal equipment would be installed on a site designated as a scheduled monument; or

(e) the solar PV or solar thermal equipment would be installed on a building within the curtilage of the dwellinghouse or block of flats if the dwellinghouse or block of flats is a listed building.

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Conditions

A.2. Development is permitted by Class A subject to the following conditions—

(a) solar PV or solar thermal equipment shall, so far as practicable, be sited so as to minimise its effect on the external appearance of the building;

(b) solar PV or solar thermal equipment shall, so far as practicable, be sited so as to minimise its effect on the amenity of the area; and

(c) solar PV or solar thermal equipment no longer needed for microgeneration shall be removed as soon as reasonably practicable.

Class B – Stand alone solar

Permitted development

B. The installation, alteration or replacement of stand alone solar within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse or a block of flats.

Development not permitted

B.1. Development is not permitted by Class B if—

(a )in the case of the installation of stand alone solar, the development would result in the presence within the curtilage of more than one stand alone solar;

(b) any part of the stand alone solar—

(i) would exceed four metres in height;

(ii) would, in the case of land within a conservation area or which is a World Heritage Site, be installed so that it is nearer to any highway which bounds the curtilage than the part of the dwellinghouse or block of flats which is nearest to that highway;

(iii) would be installed within five metres of the boundary of the curtilage;

(iv) would be installed within the curtilage of a listed building; or

(v) would be installed on a site designated as a scheduled monument; or

(c)the surface area of the solar panels forming part of the stand alone solar would exceed nine square metres or any dimension of its array (including any housing) would exceed three metres.

Conditions

B.2. Development is permitted by Class B subject to the following conditions—

(a) stand alone solar shall, so far as practicable, be sited so as to minimise its effect on the amenity of the area; and

(b) stand alone solar which is no longer needed for microgeneration shall be removed as soon as reasonably practicable.

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