Solar panels for homes
With solar panel installation, you have two options. They can either be Solar PV or Solar Thermal.
Solar PV (also known as photovoltaic solar panels or electric solar panels) work by converting sunlight into electricity. Excess electricity that you generate can be sold on to your energy supplier.
The second option, Solar Thermal panels (hot water solar panels), work by converting the sun’s energy into hot water.
What are the advantages of solar panels?
Don't let the UK's lack of sun put you off. Both options can generate energy throughout the year, even in winter. In turn, you can enjoy substantial savings and even make a profit by selling excess energy to your energy supplier.
Is there any financial support available for the solar panels?
Yes, for solar thermal panels you may be able to secure extra payments from the Government under their Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.
How many solar panels do I need?
To deliver sufficient energy to meet the typical household's electricity needs, you will require a panel coverage of around 25 square metres. An installation of this size will generate around 3.5kV of electricity. If you are seeking to install solar panels as a 'top-up', smaller systems, covering around 8 square metres, will produce around 1kV of electricity.
Do I need planning permission to install solar panels?
Roof and wall mounted solar panels
Solar panels mounted on a house or outbuilding do not need planning permission subject to all the following conditions being observed:
- Panels on a building should be sited, so far as is practicable, to minimise the effect on the external appearance of the building and the amenity of the area.
- When no longer needed for the panels should be removed.
All the following limits need to be met:
- Panels should not be installed above the highest part of the roof (excluding the chimney) and should project no more than 200mm from the roof slope or wall surface.
- The panels must not be installed on a building that is within the grounds of a listed building.
- The panels must not be installed on a site designated as a scheduled monument.
- Wall mounted only - if your property is in a conservation area, or in a World Heritage Site, panels must not be fitted to a wall which fronts a highway.
Stand alone solar panels
Stand alone solar panels installations (panels not on a building) do not need planning permission subject to the following conditions being observed:
- Panels on a building should be sited, so far as is practicable, to minimise the effect on the amenity of the area.
- When no longer needed the panels should be removed.
All the following limits must be met:
- Only the first stand alone solar installation will be permitted development. Further installations will require planning permission.
- No part of the installation should be higher than four metres
- The installation should be at least 5m from the boundary of the property
- The size of the array should be no more than 9 square metres or 3m wide by 3m deep
- Panels should not be installed within boundary of a listed building or a scheduled monument.
- If your property is in a conservation area, or in a World Heritage Site, no part of the solar installation should be nearer to any highway bounding the house than the part of the house that is nearest to that highway.
The above guidance on your "permitted development" rights has been derived from the Planning Portal Website.
Note: Where your solar panels development does not satisfy the above "permitted development" rights, this does not mean that the development is unacceptable and cannot be built. It means that an application for planning permission needs to be made so that your local Council can consider all the circumstances of the case. In considering a planning application the Council Planners will assess the impact of the development on local amenity (whether the proposal will create local nuisance impacts) and the impact of the development on character of the area.
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