Permitted Development and Solar Panels - Oct. 1st 2008.
The installation of solar panels and wind turbines under permitted development refers to single family
dwellinghouses. The term "dwellinghouse" does not include residential flats, whether in purpose-built blocks or in
converted houses or other buildings.
Residents living in flats will always require planning
permission for the installation of solar panels and wind turbines.
Most Councils are keen to promote energy efficiency. One of the ways this can be
done is for house owners to use the power of the sun to heat water or to produce electricity using photovoltaic
The Councils would normally encourage planning applications for this type of
development; however it also has a duty to protect the quality of the existing built and natural environments,
particularly with respect to Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas. In some cases, therefore the need to
preserve the local environment will outweigh the need to encourage residents to use solar power. Consequently,
a balance needs to be struck between energy efficiency and environmental considerations.
Generally, you can install solar panels on a wall without the need for planning permission provided
1) The highest part of the panel(s) is not higher than the highest part of the original roof
2) The highest part of the panel(s) does not exceed 4 metres in height, within 2 metres of a boundary of the
curtilage of the house
3) The panel(s) does not project closer to a highway than the original house unless there would be 20 metres
between it and the highway
Or on a Roof provided that:
4) No part of the panel(s) exceeds the highest part of the roof of the original house
5) Where installed on a roof slope fronting a highway, the panel(s) would not materially extend beyond the plane
of the roof.
You will need to apply for planning permission if you cannot comply with the above points.
Download a pdf guide for Permitted Development rights and solar
Solar Panels and Wind Turbines
If you live in a Conservation Area, you cannot, without planning permission, install solar panel(s) on the roof
where the panel would extend materially beyond the existing plane of the roof. Permission would also be required to
site a solar panel on an outbuilding within the curtilage.
If your proposal affects a Listed Building, you will need listed buildings consent before you install the solar
panel(s). Listed buildings consent will only be granted where the Council is satisfied that the panel(s) would not
be detrimental to the character or appearance of the Listed Building.
Solar Panel Guide
To help to explain whether or not you need an application for planning permission to install a Solar Panel, and
if you do not live in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or a Conservation Area.
Where planning permission is required, the Council will want to ensure that solar panel(s) are sited where they do
minimal harm to the appearance of the property and to the area. If you can site the solar panel at the rear or side
of the property, this may be the best approach and may not need planning permission.
The Council may refuse applications for solar panels that are attached to the front elevations of houses or are
prominent on the roof of the property.
*In situations where solar panel(s) are to be attached to the house by means of brackets or other supports it
will be necessary for you to write to the Council to determine whether the proposed panels are "permitted
development". This will also be the case if you wish to erect a freestanding solar panel or attach a solar panel to
an outbuilding within the curtilage of a dwelling house. To help the council decide, you should provide a location
plan, details of dimensions and siting. (currently this service is unavailable).
This guidance note is intended to give you the basic facts relating to solar panels. If you are in any doubt as
to whether planning permission is required or you need further guidance about your proposal please contact your
local Council Development and Building Control Services.
The following websites may also be of
The Energy Saving Trust: www.est.org.uk
The National Energy Foundation: www.nef.org.uk
London Sustainability Exchange: www.lsx.org.uk
The British Wind Energy Association: www.bwea.com