Do You Need Planning Permission For Solar Panels?
Planning permission regulations were altered in 2008 to make the installation of renewable technologies a more straight forward process.
As such, most domestic solar panel installations in the UK do not require planning permission as long as they are under a certain size - though it is always advisable to check with your local planning officer.
The general rule is that solar panel installations are acceptable unless the panel 'protrudes by 200mm or more'.
In Scotland, there are some additional provisos. These stipulations state that panels must not be located within one metre of the roof edge, and must not protrude further than the highest point of the roof (usually the chimney).
There are also rules relating to conservation areas and World Heritage sites, so if your property is located within one, or is perhaps a listed building, you should seek advice from your planning officer.
While most solar panel installations don't require planning permission, they are of course still subject to UK building regulations.
Solar panels aren't light, so your roof will need to be checked by professionals to ensure it is able to carry the weight. If not, strengthening work will need to be carried out before the panel can be sited.
Regulations apply not just to the siting of the panel, but also to the associated pipe work or electric, so make sure you use a fully registered installer who is MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) certified.
Using an MCS installer is particularly important if you plan to apply for a 'FIT' solar energy grant. Only installations carried out by registered installers are eligible for the Feed In Tariff Scheme.