Planning Permission for Solar Panels

Solar panels can be a great investment that will reduce your electricity bill and earn you money. They’re also a good idea if you want to reduce your carbon emissions.

But you do need to make sure that your proposed domestic solar panel installation adheres to planning regulations before you go ahead. One thing you may need to do is apply for planning permission.

Fortunately, planning regulations aren’t as confusing as they may first appear and on many occasions planning permission isn’t needed. Read on to find out more about planning permission and whether you need it for your domestic solar panel installation.

What’s Planning Permission?

Obtaining planning permission is a process that you may have to go through before doing certain types of building work. To get planning permission, you’ll need to complete an application and send it to your local planning authority.

Once your local planning authority has received your application, they’ll check if the work you want to do actually needs planning permission. If it does, they’ll consult legislation and decide whether to give it to you. Whether you’re granted planning permission or not may depend on the size, look, use and access of the proposed work. Your local authority will also consider how it will affect people living in the area.

Do I need planning permission for solar panels?

With solar panels, on most occasions planning permission isn’t necessary. This is because they’re considered as permitted development, which is very handy. This doesn’t mean there aren’t limitations though, so you still need to be careful about how you proceed with your installation.

If you’re installing solar panels on your roof or wall and don’t want to apply for planning permission, you need to make sure that:

  • They aren’t higher than the highest part of the roof
  • They don’t project more than 20cm from the roof or wall
  • They’re not installed on a building that is in the grounds of a listed building or monument
  • If the property is in a conservation area or World Heritage Site, the panels aren’t on a wall fronting a road
  • The installation affects the appearance of the building as little as possible
  • Any unneeded equipment is removed as soon as possible

If you’re installing stand alone solar panels and don’t want to apply for planning permission, you need to ensure that:

  • The installation is no higher than 4m and covers no more than 9m²
  • The installation is at least 5m from the property boundary
  • The panels aren’t installed within the boundary of a listed building or monument
  • If the property is in a conservation area or World Heritage Site and there’s a highway bordering your land, the panels are no closer to the road than the property is
  • There are no pre-existing solar panel installations on the land
  • The installation doesn’t restrict access to or use of any buildings on the land plot
  • Any unneeded equipment is removed as soon as possible

If your solar panel installation isn’t going to adhere to any of these restrictions then you’ll need to apply for planning permission.

How can I apply for planning permission?

You can apply for planning permission through your local authority’s website. If you’re not sure who your local authority it, you can use the government’s handy tool to find out.

If you aren’t 100% sure whether you need planning permission or not, it doesn’t hurt to contact your local planning authority and find out. You’ll have to pay a charge to apply for planning permission, but there’s no cost for simply receiving advice.

Our Reader Score