Government waives planning permission for commercial rooftop solar

The Government have confirmed that they are extending permitted development to all rooftop solar up to 1MW, meaning that as long as certain requirements are fulfilled there will be no need to apply for planning permission. This includes both solar PV and solar thermal installations.

Currently, solar installations up to 50kW benefit from permitted development and don’t need to go through planning permission. With this move this will now apply to all installations up to 1MW, which is roughly the size of a large warehouse or distribution centre (roughly a rooftop the size of an average football pitch).

STA Business Analyst David Pickup commented:

“Getting planning permission is an extra hoop to jump through, and we are delighted that this is one more barrier to getting solar on roofs that has been removed.”

“We told DECC and DCLG that the lack of permitted development was an issue more than a year and half ago and that if they want to see more solar on roofs – which is a central part of the Solar PV Strategy – then this would be an easy fix. It is great to see they have listened and actioned it. It’s also good to see that solar thermal as well as PV is included, as we pushed for in our response.”

“Extending the threshold from 50kW to 1MW is a boost for commercial solar. So many warehouses, factories and offices could save money on their energy bills by having solar PV on their roofs. However, there isn’t enough room for this market to grow before the Feed-in Tariffs drops to zero, killing the market completely. Our upcoming Solar Independence Plan will show a way to allow more growth in this crucial sector.”

This move was announced in a statutory instrument released on 25 March 2014 [1].


[1] The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/596/pdfs/uksi_20150596_en.pdf 

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