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Solar panels and planning permission

Find out if you need planning permission for solar panels.

Do I need planning permission?

Permitted development rights allow the installation of solar panels. This is subject to the conditions outlined below.

To comply with permitted development conditions, you should place the solar panel, so far as is practicable, to reduce its effect on the external appearance of the building and the amenity of the area. You should remove solar panels as soon as they are no longer needed.

Solar panels mounted on a house or a block of flats or a building in the grounds of a house or flats

You need only apply for full planning permission (flats) or householder planning permission (houses) to install a solar panel when any of the following apply:

  • It would protrude more than 20 centimetres from the external surface of the wall or roof slope, when measured perpendicularly
  • The highest part of the solar panel or equipment will be higher than the highest part of the roof. This excludes any chimney
  • It would be installed on a wall in a conservation area which faces a highway. This includes roads, paths and public rights of way
  • Your house or flat is a listed building, or within the curtilage of a listed building. Curtilage means within the garden or grounds.
  • If your house or flat is a listed building you must also apply for listed building consent.
  • Stand-alone solar panels on domestic premises (panels not on a building)

You need only apply for full planning permission (flats) or householder planning permission (houses) to install a stand-alone solar panel when any of the following apply:

  • More than one stand-alone solar panel would be installed.
  • It would exceed 4 metres in height.
  • It would be located 5 metres within the boundary of the property.
  • It would be installed within the curtilage of a listed building. Curtilage means within the garden or grounds.
  • In a conservation area, any part of the solar installation would be closer to a highway than any part of the house. A highway includes roads, paths and public rights of way.
  • The surface area of any stand-alone solar panel will exceed 9 square metres or any dimension of its array (including other equipment) would exceed 3 metres.

Where can I find more information?

The solar panels section of the national planning portal has lots of guidance and useful information.

If you are considering installing solar panels to a building in a conservation area you may want to consider how any works can be undertaken to minimise the impact on the historic environment. 

English Heritage have produced advice on how to plan for solar panels on your building. 

Can I get confirmation that I do not require planning permission?

Apply for a Lawful Development Certificate to prove an existing or proposed solar panel is lawful. 

Am I likely to get planning permission?

To find out whether your proposal is likely to be accepted, you can apply for pre-planning application advice.

How do I apply?

You can apply via the national planning portal.  To find out what information is needed with your application, see the planning application process.