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Solar panels and planning permission

Solar panels and equipment installed on domestic buildings and land are usually considered permitted development.  This means that planning permission is not required. Permitted development may not always apply.  Please visit our Permitted Development web page for further guidance.

There are also a few exceptions shown below.

All solar installations

All solar installations are subject to the following: 

  • Panels on a building should be sited to try and minimise the effect on the external appearance of the building and the amenity of the area
  • Stand-alone solar equipment should be sited to try and minimise the effect on the amenity of the area
  • When no longer needed, please remove as soon as possible

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

Roof and wall mounted solar panels

Panels should:

  • not be installed above the highest part of the roof (excluding chimney)
  • project no more than 200mm from the roof slope or wall surface
  • on a flat roof not be more than 0.6 metres higher than the highest part of the roof (excluding any chimney).

Panels must not be installed on a building that is within the grounds of a listed building.

You will need to apply to the Local Planning Authority (LPA) for a determination whether you will need prior approval for any panels proposed on a flat roof if your house is in:

  • a Conservation Area
  • a National Landscape (formerly called Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) or
  • a World Heritage Site.

Wall mounted only 

If your property is in a conservation area, or a world heritage site, you must not fit panels to a wall which fronts a highway. 

Standalone solar panels

The following limits are applicable:

  • Only the first stand-alone solar installation will be permitted development.  Further installations will need planning permission.
  • No part of the installation should be higher than four metres
  • The panel installation should be at least 5m from the boundary of the property
  • The size of the array should be no more than 9sqm or 3m wide and 3m deep
  • Panels cannot be installed within the boundary of a listed building or a scheduled monument
  • If your property is in a conservation area, if the solar equipment is closer to a highway than the part of the premises nearest the highway, this will apply.  The maximum height of the solar equipment should not exceed 2 metres and you will need to apply to the LPA for a decision whether prior approval is required.

Building regulations

You will need to apply for building regulations if installing a solar panel on your roof.  The strength of the existing roof will need assessing to ensure it can carry the weight of the panel.  You may need to do some work to strengthen the roof.  

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

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