Solar Panels - Permitted Development

Updated: 21st February 2011

Whilst the following information is believed to be accurate at the time of writing, professional advice and or direct assistance from your Local Planning Authority (Local Council Planning Department) should always be sought before installation proceeds;

In most cases, providing the panels meet the following criteria, Solar Arrays do not require planning permission for installation on private dwellings:

The following limits apply to 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 your property is in a conservation area, planning consent is required when panels will be fitted on the principal or side elevation and where they are visible from a public highway.

The principal elevation is not properly defined in current regulations, but in most circumstances it is taken to mean the elevation that most people would consider the 'front of the house'.

However the principal elevation could be any side of the house; Local Councils tend to use the following to decide which the principle elevation is:

"The elevation that is designed or intended to be the main elevation of the property (which will generally front a highway) and includes the most architectural detail (for example a gable, a bay window details or decorative porches)."

If the house is at an angle to the road, on a corner, backs onto a road or if you are at all unsure you should check with a Qualified Surveyor or your Local Planning Authority (Conservation Officer) which side of your house forms the principal elevation...

The following limits apply to stand-alone solar panels:

  • 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
  • Only one stand alone solar installation is permitted.
  • If your house is in a conservation area and the panels are to be fitted to a building in your garden or grounds they should not be visible from the highway.

All solar panel installations are also subject to the following conditions:

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

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