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Solar Panels

You are viewing guidance for England. To view guidance specific to Wales, please select the 'Welsh site' option from the top right of this page.

Planning Permission

In many cases installing solar panels on domestic land is likely to be considered 'permitted development' with no need to apply to the council for planning permission. There are, however, important limits and conditions which must be met to benefit from the permitted development rights (see below).

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You may wish to discuss with the local planning authority for your area whether all of the limits and conditions will be met.

Solar panels mounted on a house or on a building within the grounds of a house

All the following conditions must be observed:

  • Panels on a building should be sited, so far as is practicable, to minimise the effect on the external appearance of the building and the amenity of the area.
  • When no longer needed for microgeneration panels should be removed as soon as reasonably practicable.

All the following limits must be met:

  • Panels should not be installed above the highest part of the roof (excluding the chimney) and should project no more than 200mm from the roof slope or wall surface.
  • The panels must not be installed on a building that is within the grounds of a listed building.
  • The panels must not be installed on a site designated as a scheduled monument.
  • Wall mounted only - if your property is in a conservation area, or in a World Heritage Site, panels must not be fitted to a wall which fronts a highway.

Stand alone solar panels installations (panels not on a building)

All the following conditions must be observed:

  • Panels on a building should be sited, so far as is practicable, to minimise the effect on the amenity of the area.
  • When no longer needed for microgeneration panels should be removed as soon as reasonably practicable.

All the following limits must be met:

  • Only the first stand alone solar installation will be permitted development. Further installations will require planning permission.
  • No part of the installation should be higher than four metres
  • The installation should be at least 5m from the boundary of the property
  • The size of the array should be no more that 9 square metres or 3m wide by 3m deep
  • Panels should not be installed within boundary of a listed building or a scheduled monument.
  • if your property is in a conservation area, or in a World Heritage Site, no part of the solar installation should be nearer to any highway bounding the house than the part of the house that is nearest to that highway.

Note - permitted development rights for solar panels are available for both single houses and buildings which consist wholly of flats.

Note - If you are a leaseholder you may need to get permission from your landlord, freeholder or management company.

Building Regulations

If you wish to install a solar panel on your roof building regulations will normally apply.

The ability of the existing roof to carry the load (weight) of the panel will need to be checked and proven. Some strengthening work may be needed.

Building regulations also apply to other aspects of the work such as electrical installation. It is advisable to contact an installer who can provide the necessary advice, preferably one who belongs to the Competent Person Scheme.

Disclaimer

This is an introductory guide and is not a definitive source of legal information. Read the full disclaimer here.

This guidance relates to the planning regime for England. Policy in Wales may differ. If in doubt contact your Local Planning Authority.