Planning permission guidance for the installation for solar panels on dwelling houses

Introduction

This guidance refers solely to single family dwelling houses. The term ‘dwelling house' does not include residential flats, whether in purpose built blocks, converted houses or other buildings. If you live in a flat and wish to install solar panels it is likely that planning permission will be required as flats do not benefit from the same permitted development rights as dwelling houses. In addition, this guidance does not cover commercial buildings. 

This guidance note provides an overview of the permitted development rights (Permitted Development - alterations householders can make to their properties without requiring a formal application for planning permission) for the installation of solar panels, it should be read with the other sources of information identified in this document to provide a background and it is advised that a determination from the Local Planning Authority should be sought before any installation commences.

The installation of Solar Panels and other Domestic Microgeneration Equipment (including ground and water source heat pumps, combined heat and power systems and wind turbines) is covered by Part 40 of the General Permitted Development Order 2008 (As amended) these regulations can be read in full at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2008/675/pdfs/uksi_20080675_en.pdf

Do I need planning permission?

The guidance below will help you decide whether or not you need planning permission.

Solar Photovoltaic and solar thermal equipment (referred to as solar panels) fixed to the wall or a roof of a dwelling house or associated outbuilding may often be ‘permitted development' i.e. the specific grant of planning permission may not be required.

To benefit from permitted development all of the following limitations would need to be complied with;

  • That if the panel is fixed to a wall or roof, it would not protrude more than 200 millimetres, when measured at a right angle, beyond the external surface of the wall or roof slope.
  • That the highest part of the panel would not be higher than the highest part of the roof (excluding any chimney)
  • In a Conservation Area, the panel would not be installed on a principal or side elevation wall or roof slope which is visible from the highway or in the case of an associated outbuilding within its curtilage, on any wall or roof slope visible from a highway.
  • The panel would not be installed on any building within the curtilage of a dwelling house if it is a Listed Building. If you are unsure to whether you're building is Listed please contact us on 01386 565565 for clarification. Or you can use our facility "Locate".
  • Check whether your property have not had the permitted development rights removed.

In the event of solar equipment meeting all of the above criteria, then it can be installed as permitted development on condition that, so far as practicable, it is sited so as to minimise its effect on the external appearance of the building and on the amenity of the area and, when it is no longer need, it is removed as soon as reasonably practicable.

Note: if solar equipment is to be attached to a Listed Building then in addition to a planning application an application for Listed Building Consent will need to be made to the Council. Application forms can be downloaded from Planning and Listing building Consent (Application Form No.8)


Stand-alone solar photovoltaic or solar thermal equipment installed, altered or replaced within the curtilage of a dwelling house can also benefit from ‘permitted development' if all of the following criteria is satisfied:

  • It would not result in more than one solar panel in the curtilage of the property.
  • The equipment would not exceed 4 metres in height above ground level and would not be within 5 metres of the boundary of the property.
  • The surface area of solar panels would not exceed 9 square metres or any dimension (including housing) would not exceed 3 metres.
  • In a Conservation Area, the equipment would not be visible from any highway.
  • It would not be within the curtilage of a Listed Building
  • Check whether the property have not had the permitted development rights removed.

In the event of solar equipment meeting all of the above criteria, then it can be installed as permitted development on condition that, so far as practicable, it is sited so as to minimise its effect on the external appearance of the building and on the amenity of the area and, when it is no longer need, it is removed as soon as reasonably practicable.
 

What do I do next?

I think that my proposal is permitted development

After reading this guidance, if you think that your proposal could be ‘permitted development' you may wish to submit a Permitted Development Enquiry for an officer opinion on your proposal. To take advantage of this service, we would require the submission of the correct application form (Permitted Development Enquiry Form 3 – Solar Panels).  We aim to provide a written response within 15 working days.

Alternatively, if you wish to receive a formal confirmation that your proposal complies with the General Permitted Development Order, an application for a Certificate of Lawful Development can be submitted. This application provides a legal determination that the proposed works comply with the regulations, this will be especially useful if you need to provide proof the works complied in the future, for example, when selling your property.

You will need to submit scaled drawings to illustrate your proposals and how they relate to your house. The planning fee for a certificate application is £86 (this is half of the fee for a normal householder application). The application forms can be downloaded at Certificate of Lawful - Proposed use (Application Form No. 15)

I think that my proposal needs planning permission?

If you think that your proposal requires planning permission then you need to submit a planning application using the householder form. The planning fee for a householder application is £172.

To help with submitting the application we have produced this information pack for guide you through the process.  "Applying for planning permission? Get it right first time information pack.  You will need to prepare scaled drawings to illustrate your proposals and how they relate to your house. The application form and validation checklist for a householder application can be found at (Application Form No. 1) .  If you need further assistance, please contact us on 01386 565565.

Applications can also be submitted electronically using the online service at www.planningportal.gov.uk/

Do I need Building Regulation Approval?

For information on Building Regulations in relation to the installation of Solar Panels, please contact the South Worcestershire Building Control Service on 01684 862223 or email mail@southworcestershirebuildingcontrol.gov.uk


Useful Sources of Further Information

Wychavon District Council Permitted Development Enquiry

Wychavon District Council Planning Application Forms
Planning Portal – www.planningportal.gov.uk/

Planning Portal Guidance on Solar Panels - www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/commonprojects/solarpanels/

The Energy Saving Trust – www.est.org.uk/

The National Energy Foundation – www.nef.org.uk/