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Solar panel installations

Will I need planning permission?

Photovoltaic panels (PV) and solar water heating panels (SWH) attached to dwellings or flats

These will normally be regarded as "permitted development" and would only require planning permission if:

  • The panels would protrude more than 200 millimetres beyond the plane of the wall or the roof slope
  • It would result in the highest part of the panel or equipment being higher than the highest part of the roof (excluding any chimney)
  • In the case of land within a conservation area or which is a World Heritage Site, the equipment would be installed on a wall that would front a highway
  • The equipment would be installed on a site designated as a scheduled monument
  • The equipment would be installed within the grounds of a listed building

Freestanding PV or SWH installations within the grounds of a dwelling or flat

These will normally be regarded as "permitted development" and would only require planning permission if:

  • It would result in more than one freestanding installation or
  • Any part of the installation
    • would exceed four metres in height above ground level
    • would be nearer any highway than any part of the dwelling or flat, nearest to that highway, if it is located within a conservation area or World Heritage site it 
    • would be installed within five metres of the boundary of the site
    • would be installed within the grounds of a listed building or
    • would be installed on a site designated as a scheduled monument
  • The surface area of the solar panels forming part of the freestanding panel would exceed nine square metres or any dimension of the panel or equipment would exceed three metres

If the property is a listed building or the proposal is within the grounds of a listed building you might need to have listed building consent.

Conditions of permitted development rights

The above permitted development rights for PV and SWH are subject to some conditions and these are that:

  • The panels or equipment installed shall be sited so as to minimise its effect on the external appearance of the building and/or the area as a whole
  • When the equipment is no longer needed it shall be removed as soon as reasonably practicable

Building control advice

Solar panels, photovoltaic panels, slates or tiles

The installation of these products is defined as the provision or extension of a controlled service or fitting and as such building regulation approval is required.

You will need to provide manufacturer's details, including fixing details, operational weights, an energy efficiency appraisal and information as to how these devices interact with existing heating or electrical systems.

For domestic installations, if a contractor who is registered as a Part P competent person is carrying out the electrical works, then the council will not control this aspect of the installation.

Depending upon the type and size of the installation, you may also need to provide a loading check by a competent building surveyor or structural engineer to ensure the structural stability of the existing roof structure is not impaired following the increase in loading.

Where the electricity supply is being altered you should also notify your existing electricity supplier about your proposed installation.

If the contractor is registered with a government approved Competent Persons Scheme (Building Regulations 2010, Schedule 3, Item 17), then self certification for compliance with Building Regulation requirements, can be issued.

Please ensure that the relevant structural implications will also be included as part of the contractors registration with the Competent Persons Scheme.

Building regulation approval process

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