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Do I Need Planning Permission for Solar Panels? Your Guide to Solar Panel Installation in the UK

Published on:
31 July 2023

In recent years, the shift towards renewable energy sources like solar power has gained significant momentum, with many homeowners considering solar panel installations to reduce their carbon footprint and energy bills. Therefore, we are seeing more questions about planning permission come up. Such as ‘Do I need planning permission for solar panels?’ We’ve written this blog to delve into the topic and to clear up any confusion around planning permission.  

What are the different types of solar panel installations? 

When it comes to solar panel installations, there are currently a couple types to consider, including roof-mounted and ground-mounted. 

Roof-mounted solar panels – Roof-mounted solar panels are the most common type of solar panel installation for residential and commercial buildings. They are installed on the roof of a property and, depending on the type of roof, they can be either flush-mounted or tilted. Roof-mounted solar panels are popular due to their space-saving design and discreteness. 

Ground-mounted solar panels – Ground-mounted solar panels are mostly used for commercial applications, and they are installed on the ground using racks or frames, typically in open areas such as fields or unused land. This type of installation is ideal for those who have limited roof space or lots of space surrounding their property and want maximum efficiency from their solar panels. Ground-mounted systems can be designed to optimise sunlight exposure and can accommodate larger arrays than rooftop installations. 

Before committing to a solar panel installation, it’s important to understand the various options available and which solar panels are the most efficient for your project. At East Yorkshire Solar, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have.  

Do you need planning permission to install solar panels? 

The regulations regarding planning permission for solar panels can vary depending on where you live and the specific circumstances of your property. In many cases, homeowners in England, Scotland, and Wales can install solar panels on their roofs or within their properties without needing to obtain planning permission, thanks to permitted development rights. 

What are permitted development rights?  

Permitted Development Rights (PDR) is an essential aspect to consider when contemplating solar panel installations in the UK. PDR allows property owners to make certain alterations to their buildings without seeking formal planning permission from the local authorities. These alterations are deemed “permitted” as long as they adhere to specific criteria outlined by the government. 

In the case of solar panels, these criteria include the solar panels do not protrude more than 200mm from the roof surface, the highest part of the panels does not exceed the highest part of the roof (excluding chimneys) and the solar panels are not installed on a listed building or within a designated area. 

When is planning permission required? 

There are exceptions to these rules and sometimes planning permission is required. That’s why it’s always advisable to seek guidance. At East Yorkshire Solar, we can provide specific advice tailored to your situation and help ensure that you comply with any relevant regulations. Contact us today with any questions. 

Some of these exceptions are:  

Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas – Listed buildings and properties located within conservation areas have stricter planning regulations to preserve their historical and architectural significance. For such properties, any solar panel installation, whether on the roof or ground, will likely require planning permission. 

To determine if your property falls within a conservation area or if it is a listed building, you can use the online mapping tools provided by your local council or consult a heritage specialist. If planning permission is required, at East Yorkshire Solar we can assist you with the application process and ensure that your installation aligns with the property’s historical value. 

Community Energy Projects and Commercial Installations – For larger-scale solar installations, such as community energy projects or commercial installations, planning permission will almost certainly be necessary. These projects typically require a more comprehensive assessment to address any potential environmental or visual impacts on the surroundings. At East Yorkshire Solar, we are experienced in commercial solar panels and installations, therefore, we can streamline the planning process, ensuring that your project meets all regulatory requirements. 

While obtaining planning permission may involve additional time and paperwork, it can provide peace of mind and assurance that your installation is fully compliant with local regulations. 

How do I get planning permission?  

When starting the process of obtaining planning permission for solar panels, the first step is to consult with your local planning authority. They will provide guidance on the specific requirements and procedures applicable to your area, including any forms or documentation that need to be submitted. Typically, this process involves preparing and submitting a planning application detailing the proposed solar panel installation, including its location, dimensions, and design. Your application will then be assessed against relevant planning policies and considerations, such as visual impact, environmental impact, and any potential objections from neighbours or other stakeholders.  

Conclusion 

In conclusion, domestic solar panels installed on the roof of a residential property are less likely to need planning permissions if they meet criteria, such as not protruding beyond the plane of the roof, not exceeding a certain height above the roofline, and not being installed on a listed building or within a designated area of outstanding natural beauty. Whereas solar panels on commercial buildings, listed buildings or within conservation area are more likely to need planning permission.  

Even though planning permission for solar panels may not always be required, it’s essential to familiarise yourself with the relevant regulations and seek professional advice to ensure compliance and maximise the success of your solar energy project. By taking the time to understand your options and obligations, you can embark on your journey towards clean, sustainable energy with confidence and clarity. 

Further support 

We are here to help, so please do not hesitate to contact our solar experts today for further guidance and advice… 

Email: support@eastyorkshiresolar.co.uk 

Telephone: 01482 230 422