Planning permission

Do I need planning permission to install solar panels?

For most domestic properties, planning permission is not required for the installation of a solar PV system. This means that they are "permitted development".

However, there is a set of conditions and limitations your solar PV installation has to comply with:

  • The solar panels should be installed in such a way that the effect on the external appearance of the building and the amenity of the area is minimal.
  • When no longer needed, equipment should be removed as soon as reasonably practicable.
  • The solar panels cannot be higher than the highest part of the roof (excluding any chimney).
  • The installation cannot protrude more than 0.2 metres beyond the plane of the roof slope.
Instances where domestic solar PV installations do not comply with these limitations are very rare.

However, if you want to install solar panels on a flat roof slope, you do need planning permission in any case. The reason for this is that solar panels on a flat roof are placed in frames to create an angle towards the sun. Those types of installations do not comply with the fourth limitation mentioned above: they cannot protrude more than 0.2 metres above the roof slope.

If you think you need planning permission we recommend that you contact the National Planning Portal. They will be able to advise you about your specific property.

It is not possible to install solar panels on a building that is located within the grounds of a listed building or on a site that is considered to be a scheduled monument.

Conservation areas

If you live in a building that is located within the grounds of a listed building or on a site that is considered to be a scheduled monument, it is not possible to install solar panels.

Moreover, if you live in a conservation area, there are more specific limitations to take into consideration. For example, in that case the solar panels cannot face towards or be visible from a public highway.

If you want to find out more about conservation areas in your specific location, we can advise you to have a look at the following websites and documents.