In most cases, solar panels do not require planning permission, since they belong to the permitted developments. There are some conditions that apply, depending on whether the property is domestic or commercial. Solar panels and equipment installed in domestic buildings and land are generally considered permitted developments. This means that planning permission is not required.
Allowed development may not always apply. Visit our allowed development web page for more information. An MCS contractor will also confirm that your solar installation meets all of the above requirements before installation begins. In most cases, solar panels mounted on the roof or wall of a private home do not require planning permission, as they would normally be included in what are known as permitted development rights.
As such, the contractor's accreditation would allow them to self-certify their solar panel installation work, without the need to go to an external inspector. As intimidating as it may seem, applying for planning permission for solar panels is actually quite simple. If you are able to obtain the “consent of a listed building” to install solar panels, you will also need to obtain a planning permit. Both in listed building facilities and in conservation areas, it is always best to check the details of the planned installation with the local authority's planning department.
These conditions will be met if the panels are mounted parallel to the ceiling on a sloped roof; however, they are unlikely to be met if the panels are mounted on a flat roof. As with any other structural alteration of a property, the installation of solar panels must comply with building regulations and evidence of this compliance must be submitted to the local authority. Having a protected building like your home can add value when you decide to sell, so to avoid any damage to the roof, it might be safer to stay away from solar panels. Before installing photovoltaic technology, you need to contact your home insurance provider to ensure that the installation is covered by your policy (including theft and damage to the assembly).
In addition to this, solar panels are subject to normal building regulations, which means checking that the roof can withstand the additional load; your MCS-certified installer will check this for you. In Scotland, there are additional regulations that require a building permit if solar panels are to be installed on the exterior walls of a housing block.