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Do You Need Planning Approval To Install Solar Panels?

Following a council’s decision to instruct a couple to arrange to take down the solar panels that they had installed on top of their garage because they were blocking the view of a neighbour we thought it might prove useful to highlight the planning regulations for solar panels.

Be aware of any planning regulations for the installation of solar panels

Normally, it is not necessary to apply for planning permission in respect of solar panels that are being installed on domestic properties. They are usually viewed as “permitted development”. However, the following conditions/limits must be met although it may still be a sensible idea just to check with the local planning authority before committing yourself: –

Solar panels installed on a domestic property

• Solar panels should be located so that they provide as little impact on the look of the building and the surrounding area.
• When they are not going to be needed anymore they must be taken down.
• Solar panels cannot be installed on a property that is situated within a listed building’s grounds or a site of a scheduled monument.
• Solar panels are not permitted to be fixed so that they are above the highest bit of a roof (not including the chimney) and are not allowed to protrude in excess of 200mm from the slope of the roof or the surface of the wall.
• Solar panels cannot be fixed to the wall of a property that front onto the highway if the property is in a World Heritage Site or a conservation area.

Stand-alone solar panels

• Four metres is the maximum height of the solar panel installation.
• There must be a distance of at least five metres between the property’s boundary and the solar panel installation.
• “Permitted development” status will be given to the first stand-alone installation but any more will need planning permission.
• The maximum size of the overall installation should be 3 metres deep by 3 metres wide or 9 square metres.
• If the building is in a World Heritage Site or conservation area, the solar panel installation cannot be closer to any road by the property than the part of the property that is located closest to that road.
• It is not permissible to install solar panels within a perimeter of a scheduled monument or listed building.

We hope that the above proves to be of some help but we must stress that you should make your own enquiries as to whether you require planning approval to install solar panels.

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