Solar panels and planning permission

In many cases fixing solar panels to your roof is likely to be considered as permitted development, meaning that you will not require planning permission. However, there are a few exceptions.

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

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All solar installations are subject to the following: 

  • Panels on a building should be sited, as far as possible, to minimise the effect on the appearance of the building.
  • They should be sited, as far as possible, to minimise the effect on the amenity of the area.
  • When no longer needed, they should be removed as soon as possible.

Roof and wall mounted solar panels

  • Panels should not be installed above the ridgeline and should project no more than 200mm from the roof or wall surface.
  • If solar panels are to be installed on or within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse which is listed, planning permission will be required.

Wall mounted only 

If your property is in a conservation area, or in a world heritage site, planning consent is required when panels are to be fitted on the principal or side elevation walls and they are visible from the highway. If panels are to be fitted to a building in your garden or grounds they should not be visible from the highway.

Standalone solar panels

The following limits apply:

  • Should be no higher than four metres
  • Should be at least 5m from boundaries
  • Size of array is limited to 9 sq m or 3m wide and 3m deep
  • In the case of land in a conservation area or in a world heritage site it should not be visible from the highway.
  • Only one stand alone solar installation is permitted.

Building regulations

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

The ability of the existing roof to carry the weight of the panel will need to be checked and some strengthening work may be needed.

Building regulations also apply to other aspects of the work such as electrical installation.