HOMEOWNERS

Planning Permission for Solar Panels

Homeowner Protection

In most cases, solar panels mounted on a roof or wall of a private house do not require planning permission as they would normally fall under what is referred to as permitted development rights. However, there are conditions that apply to ensure that the installation qualifies for permitted development.

The permitted development rights that apply for domestic solar panel installations are relatively generous. In most cases, solar panel installations on the roofs of detached, semi-detached, and terraced houses, and the roofs of most types of outbuildings, are considered permitted developments and do not require planning permission. However, it is always best to check with your local planning authority to confirm whether or not planning permission is required in your specific situation.

In addition to planning, your appointed MCS-certified installer will examine the roof to ensure it can bear the additional weight of solar panels in conformance with any relevant building regulations.

Do I need planning permission to install solar panels?

In most cases, you will not need planning permission to install solar panels on your property if they are being installed on a dwelling and are not visible from a road.

However, certain types of properties are more likely to require planning permission for solar panel installations, including:

  • Listed Buildings
  • Flats
  • Properties in Conservation Areas*

The requirement for planning permission for solar panel installations on these types of properties is in place to ensure that the installation does not negatively impact the appearance or functionality of the surrounding area. It is always best to check with your local planning authority to confirm whether planning permission is required for your installation.

*Planning Permission in Conservation Areas (Update)

As of November 2023, the UK government has relaxed the requirements for permitted developments in conservation areas. This change allows homes with flat roofs to no longer require planning permission for solar panels, reducing delays and cost to homeowners.

How to make a planning application for Solar Panels

If planning permission is required for your solar panel installation, you will need to submit an application to your local planning authority. This is typically done online and will require you to provide detailed information about the proposed installation, including its size, location, and any potential impacts on the surrounding area.

The following steps outline the process of obtaining planning permission for your solar installation:

  1. Determine if planning permission is required: The first step in the process is determining whether planning permission is required for your solar panel installation. In most cases, planning permission will not be required for installations. However, certain exclusions exist to these permitted development rights, such as installations on listed buildings, flats, and conservation areas.
  2. Gather the required information: If planning permission is required, you will need to gather all the necessary information to complete your application. This will typically include details about the location and size of the proposed installation and any potential impacts on the surrounding area. You may also need to provide detailed plans and drawings of the proposed installation.
  3. Submit your application: Once you have gathered all the required information, you must submit your application to your local planning authority. This can typically be done online and will require you to pay a fee. (Working out planning fees)
  4. Wait for a decision: After you have submitted your application, the local planning authority will review it and decide if planning permission for your solar panels will be granted. This process can take several weeks or even months, depending on the application’s complexity and the planning authority’s workload.
  5. Begin installation of your solar panel system: If your application is approved, you can proceed with your solar panel installation. It’s important to make sure that you follow all the conditions specified in the planning permission, as failure to do so could result in enforcement action being taken against you.

Appealing the decision if your Planning Permission is Rejected

If your application is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. You must follow the appeals process the local planning authority set out, typically submitting a written appeal and potentially attending a hearing.

Grounds for appeal

If any of the following apply, then you can submit an appeal for your rejection:

  • You can appeal a planning decision if it goes against the local planning authority’s development plan or planning policy
  • You can appeal a planning decision if it includes conditions that you believe are unnecessary, unenforceable, vague, unreasonable, or irrelevant.
  • You can appeal a planning decision if the local planning authority has not given a decision on your application after 8 weeks (or after a different agreed-upon deadline) have passed.

Factors that may affect the granting of planning permission for solar panels

There are a number of factors that may affect the granting of planning permission for solar panels, including:

  • the impact on the appearance of the property and the surrounding area
  • the impact on the amenities of nearby properties
  • any potential loss of sunlight to neighbouring properties.

The factors can differ per local authority and are at their discretion. Consider the outlined factors when applying for planning permission, as many styles of solar panels can improve or detriment your property’s appearance.

In most cases, solar panels mounted on a roof or wall of a private house do not require planning permission as they would normally fall under what is referred to as permitted development rights. However, there are conditions that apply to ensure that the installation qualifies for permitted development.

Common mistakes to avoid when applying for planning permission for solar panels

People make several common mistakes when applying for planning permission for solar panels. These include:

  • Failing to provide all of the required information,
  • Failing to consult with neighbours
  • Not adequately addressing any potential negative impacts of the installation.

To avoid these mistakes and increase your chances of obtaining planning permission, it is important to carefully read and follow all instructions provided by the local planning authority.

Planning Considerations for Wall-Mounted Solar Panels

Not every property is designed perfectly for solar panel installations; therefore, wall-mounted solar panels are an alternative option which utilises the wall space of a property. 

  • Wall-mounted solar panels must be installed in accordance with the Building Regulations to ensure they are structurally secure.
  • Property owners must ensure that the building’s walls can support the additional weight of the solar panel system.
  • Panels should not be installed in whether is a risk of overhanging or overshadowing planned adjacent developments.
  • Panels must be designed and installed to minimise their visual impact and maximise the efficiency of energy production.

Using a Qualified Solar Installer

It is strongly advised to use a qualified solar panel installation company to ensure that your installation is carried out safely and in accordance with all relevant regulations. The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) and the Home Insulation and Energy Systems (HIES) are independent bodies that recognise companies that meet certain standards in installing microgeneration technologies, such as solar panels.

Using a company that is MCS and HIES accredited ensures that the company has the necessary knowledge, experience, and qualifications to install your solar panels safely and to a high standard.

In addition, it is also a good idea to research the company and read reviews from previous customers to ensure that you are choosing a reputable and reliable company.

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I am working with HIES to ensure that consumers are respected, protected and educated on their home improvement journey.

George Clarke, HIES Brand Ambassador

Our vision is to transform consumer protection by respecting, protecting and educating consumers. A vision which is shared by our new brand ambassador, George Clarke.

HIES strongly believe that no consumer should ever be left disadvantaged and we strive to ensure every consumer is fully protected before, during and after their installations.

We achieve this by providing free deposit protection and free stage payment protection, free insurance backed guarantees, free mediation services and free access to an Ombudsman, in the unlikely event we are unable help resolve a dispute.

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