Solar panels are a great way to reduce your utility bills and increase your home’s curb appeal. As they produce more electricity than they consume, many people decide to install them on their roofs. However, this begs the question: “Do I need planning permission for solar panels on my roof?”
Suppose you plan to install solar panels on your roof and think about saving the environment and trimming down your electricity bills simultaneously. In that case, it may be worthwhile to check if you will need any permission. Since there are so many factors to consider, and it is not always clear-cut, this guide will help you decide.
Why Do I Need Planning Permission for Solar Panels on My Roof?
It is not always necessary to apply for planning permission for building work — sometimes it is not needed at all, and other times it is needed for specific kinds of conditions and circumstances. At times planning permission is required, along with building regulations approval which is a separate process. If you go ahead with work without obtaining this approval first, you could face the consequences such as having to reverse the work or even being fined or prosecuted in some circumstances. The main reason why planning permission is a legal requirement for most types of development, including solar panels on your roof, is that solar panels can affect the appearance of the building and can sometimes be seen as unsightly to nearby residents. Solar panels are large, heavy, and require a lot of space.
From Whom Do I Need Planning Permission for Solar Panels on My Roof?
If you are to install solar panels on the roof of your house, you will need the permission of those who own or manage the building, for example, your landlord or local council. In most cases, the installation will involve making holes in the roof and fixing supports. If you rent a house or flat, you will need to get permission from your landlord, who may also be responsible for maintaining the roof. However, if you own a house or flat, you will need to get permission from whoever is responsible for maintaining the building — this could be yourself in some cases. Still, it could also be a freeholder if you have a long lease or a management company responsible for shared areas of a block of flats.
5 Factors Affecting Planning Permission
As mentioned earlier, solar panels installed on roofs of residential buildings do not generally need planning permission provided that they meet certain criteria. However, this does not mean that every householder can begin installing solar panels without first checking whether they fit into these criteria. Here are five factors that may cause you to need planning permission for solar panels on roofs.
1. Houses in Conservation Areas
Suppose your property is located in an area of outstanding beauty or special interest. In that case, the chances are that it will belong to a conservation area, and therefore you might need planning permission for solar panel installation. If the trees in your area have protection orders, this can affect where you can put your solar panels and how many you can install. Depending on the type of protection order and how far away it is from your home, you may need planning permission to install solar panels.
2. Listed Buildings
Listed buildings will likely need planning permission for solar panels on roofs. Listed buildings have been deemed historical or possess architectural significance, unlike listed structures, which are important by their design, age, and setting. For example, a bridge may be listed rather than the road it carries.
3. Buildings with Specific Designations
Some buildings have other designations that mean you may need planning permission to install solar panels on the roof. If you live in a National Park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), a World Heritage Site, or the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads, you may need planning permission for solar panels on your roof. Check with your local authority before installing any solar PV systems to avoid problems down the line.
4. The Height of Your Roof
The question “do I need planning permission for solar panels on my roof” is frequently asked by residents who have high-heightened roofs. This is because the height of the roof can affect whether there is a need for planning permission for solar panels on roofs or not. If you have a very high roof, you may need planning permission for solar panels because there will be a lot of space around the system, which can interfere with other buildings or roads. On the contrary, if you have a very low roof, you may not need planning permission because there will be less space between your home and the system, reducing interference with other buildings or roads.
However, suppose you own a high-roofed property. In that case, there is a high probability that installing solar panels on your roof may affect neighbors below you if it causes them to lose sunlight due to shadows being cast from the solar panels on roofs above them. Even if the roofing tiles or shingles are dark in color, the solar panels will stand out too much. This may cause problems with neighbors and also may be against planning regulations. In this situation, you must check with the neighbors before the installation to make sure they agree to this.
5. Type of Roof
There are many different types of roofs, such as flat, pitched, and so on; each has its own set of requirements to be met when installing solar panels. If you are unsure which type of roof you have, it is best to contact an expert who can advise whether or not planning permission will need to be granted before carrying out any work on site.
5 Effects of Installing Solar Panels Without Planning Permission
1. A Breach of Planning Control Notice
Local authorities serve this notice if they believe there has been a breach of planning control. The notice will state what action needs to be taken and by when.
2. No Compensation for Production Lost During the Reverse Procedure
When planning permission is not approved, you are not eligible to receive any compensation for production lost while removing the panels from your roof.
3. Removing the Panels Even if They Do Not Affect Your Neighbors
If planning permission is not approved, the local authorities may ask you to remove them even if they do not affect your neighbors in any way, shape, or form. This could mean that they are no longer viable when considering their ROI (return on investment).
4. Paying a Fine for Installing Them Without Permission
Some local authorities may also choose to fine you for installing the solar panel without having received planning permission first, which can get quite expensive. You may even receive an unlimited fine, a prison sentence, or both. You may also be required to pay the cost of any court proceedings or works required to reverse the impact of your installation.
5. Not Being Able to Sell Your House
If you were to install solar panels without having planning permission, they would be considered a breach of planning control. This means that they would not be considered legal in property law. If you were to try and sell the house at some point in the future, it would not be easy to do so unless you got any necessary permissions first. However, if you have the planning permission and decide to sell your property, it will be easier to find a buyer if it has solar panels installed. This is especially true if your house is located in a sunny area where the sun shines.
How to Get Permission to Install Solar Panels on the Roof?
Some people question “do I need planning permission for solar panels on my roof from local authorities or third parties before installing solar panels on their roofs?” You should always get approval or permission from a third party before installing solar panels on your roof. It is worth being aware that local authorities have no legal obligation to approve such applications. Still, they are generally fairly supportive as long as it does not affect the appearance of the building negatively. Solar panels are becoming more popular, and with good reason, so most councils will understand how beneficial they can be to people.
To find out if you need permission, you should contact your local planning office and ask them if you need planning permission. They will then tell you whether or not you need permission and what you must do to get it. Once they have received your application, they will then decide within eight weeks as to whether or not you have been approved. If they feel that it will cause any problem, they may reject your application, in which case you may appeal against their decision. Another option is contacting a reputable solar company. They will be up-to-date on all codes and regulations required by local permitting offices and know how much paperwork is necessary to get through the process as quickly as possible.
4 Tips to Help You Get Permission Easily
When installing solar panels, we must work with the local government to obtain permission. Here are some tips when taking permission panning to install solar panels:
- Before doing anything else, contact the local building department and ask if they have guidelines on installing solar panels. This is important because some areas have strict guidelines and require a building permit before installing solar panels.
- Make sure you read all the instructions carefully to process your application quickly. You may need to provide a sketch showing where the solar panel will be installed and how large it is going to be. Some areas even require a complete set of plans showing how large the roof or wall where the solar panel will be installed.
- If you live in a neighborhood with an active HOA, getting permission for solar panel installation will be critical for your plans to go green. Many HOAs have strict rules about what homeowners can do with their properties and what improvements can be made without prior approval from the HOA board members.
- Check your roof or wall condition for installation equipment such as brackets, fasteners, or flashing elements that could interfere with other structures such as chimneys, dormers, or gutters. If there is any problem with its structure, you should contact a professional contractor to check it properly. Your roof should support the weight of the solar panels and heavy wind loads. A good rule of thumb is that your roof should be able to hold at least four times its weight.
Still have this question: “Do I need planning permission for solar panels on my roof ?” Well, the installation of solar panels may not be for everyone, but if you are looking to minimize your energy consumption and carbon footprint, it is worth considering. Whether you plan to install them yourself or employ the services of a solar panel installation company, you must do some background research on the legal requirements that you may face. There may be some rules in place where you live, or other factors can affect whether or not solar panels are right for your home. The good news is that in many cases, as long as you meet a few simple criteria and follow the necessary regulations, solar panels should be a fairly painless and easy addition to most rooftops—whether they are an original feature of a home or not.
The team at Firefly Solar is ready to answer your questions and give you a no-obligation price quote. Feel free to call us at 864-252-7858 or book a consultation online. And we’ll get in touch within 24 hours.