Potential Engineering


Do you need planning permission for solar panels?
Here we take a look at planning permission considerations for home solar panel installations.
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Permitted Development Rights

Solar panel installations on residential houses are encompassed by the "permitted development rights" framework in England. This implies that, in the majority of cases, obtaining planning permission is not a requisite. Similar provisions for permitted development rights exist in varying degrees in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland; however, it is pertinent to note that specific regulations may diverge.

Conditions and Restrictions

Qualification for permitted development rights is subject to explicit conditions and limitations. For instance, the solar panels must not protrude beyond the plane of the roof slope, and the highest part should not exceed the highest part of the roof, excluding chimneys. In instances where a property is situated within a conservation area, National Park, or World Heritage Site, additional restrictions may be applicable. It is advisable to engage in consultation with the local planning authority to ascertain compliance with these conditions.

Listed Buildings

For properties designated as listed buildings, a separate and distinct consent process may be requisite. In such cases, seeking guidance from the local planning authority is highly recommended to ensure adherence to the specific regulations governing listed structures.

Commercial and Agricultural Properties

Distinct regulations may govern solar panel installations on commercial and agricultural properties. In some instances, planning permission may be obligatory. Property owners contemplating such installations are advised to verify the applicable rules with the local planning authority to ensure full compliance.

Ground-Mounted Solar Panels

Planning permission is typically necessary for ground-mounted solar panels, irrespective of whether the property is residential or non-residential. Compliance with planning regulations is imperative for such installations, and property owners are encouraged to seek approval from the local planning authority.

Solar Thermal Panels

While the regulations outlined above primarily pertain to solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, distinctions may exist for solar thermal panels, which are employed for water heating rather than electricity generation. Property owners considering the installation of solar thermal panels are advised to seek clarification from the local planning authority to ensure adherence to the relevant regulations.

It is essential to bear in mind that regulatory frameworks are subject to updates, and local variations may exist. Therefore, consulting with the local planning authority or seeking professional guidance is recommended to stay abreast of the latest regulations pertinent to solar panel installations.


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