In many circumstances, solar panels fixed to the wall or roof of a house or block of flats are classed as 'permitted development' and do not need planning permission, providing that:
- the solar panels do not protrude by more than 200mm beyond the wall or roof
- the solar panel is no higher than the roof (excluding any chimney)
Solar panels in conservation areas
You will not usually need planning permission to install solar panels on the roof of a house or block of flats in a conservation area, even if the roof faces a highway. However, you'll need planning permission when installing solar panels or other equipment on a wall fronting a highway within a conservation area.
All installations must meet the following conditions:
- the solar panels will, so far as is practicable, be installed so as to minimise the effect on the external appearance of the building.
- the solar panels will, so far as is practicable, be sited so as to minimise the effect on the amenity of the area
- any solar panels no longer needed for micro-generation are removed as soon as possible
Freestanding solar panels are subject to extra restrictions, not covered here.
Solar panels and listed buildings
To install solar panels on a listed building, you'll need listed building consent before you can start. This is in addition to planning permission, if any of the above criteria are not met.
If the solar panels are to be installed on a building 'within the curtilage of a dwelling' which is a listed building, you will need planning permission.
Find out more about conservation areas and listed buildings.
You'll also need to check that there are no restrictions on development at the property as a result of:
- any conditions imposed on the original planning permission
- it being covered by an Article (4) direction
- the deeds of the property listing restrictions that apply
Any of the above could have removed 'permitted development' rights for certain types of development.
If you're unsure of any possible restrictions applied to your home, please contact the Planning Service by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. An officer will check this for you and let you know whether it is within your 'permitted development' rights or if planning permission is needed. There is a charge for this service.
Find out more about pre-application advice.
It's important to make sure the roof structure, walls and existing coverings are in sound repair before installation.
Apply for planning permission
If planning permission is needed to install solar panels on a domestic property, you'll need to submit a ‘householder application for planning permission’.