Planning Permission

Up until recently, planning permission was not required for domestic properties but was required for commercial properties. As of 6th April 2012, this has been lifted. Commercial and agricultural properties no longer have to apply for planning permission to have a solar panel installation fitted. This applies to systems up to 50KWP for electricity and up to 45 kilowatts for thermal. If you have been put off by the long application process before or have previously been turned down for an installation, now is the time to act.

The only exception to this rule is if your commercial property is a listed building in which case planning permission will still be an issue. Also a ground mounted system that is less that 9m squared in area will no longer need planning permission. All you will need now is a DNO permission / approval for the system to the national grid which usually is not difficult or time consuming to obtain. If you have any doubts at all, the solar panel company and your local planning authority will advise you as to whether you are allowed to have the system fitted or not. But thanks to these new changes, most properties will get the go ahead needed. 

Conditions

There are, of course, a few rules which have to be followed to make sure you will not need planning permission. Commercial solar panel systems that are roof mounted should be no more than 20cm off the roof. On a flat roof you are allowed 1m off the roof in order that frames for the panels can also be fitted without need for permission. For ground mounted solar systems, only 9m squared in area is allowed without the need for planning permission. The ground mounted frame is not allowed to be more than 4m tall. Ground based systems must also be at least 5m away from the boundary of the property.

Unfortunately, the rules for a solar panel system that is ground mounted will mean that not a very large system is allowed to be fitted regardless of the space you have available. If you have a larger space that you wish to use, then it is probably still worthwhile seeking planning permission for the system.


Click on the purple for more help with your planning.