The good news is that for the vast majority of domestic installations, no planning permission is required.
Planning permission is not usually required
This is taken care of when we design your system. The key rules we have to abide by are as follows:
No panel part is higher than the highest part of the roof. This excludes the chimney.
No panel part extends over 20 centimetres beyond the plane of a roof slope facing onto and visible from a road.
No Panels exceed the existing roof boundary.
If you are in a conservation area or World Heritage Site the roof slope on which the panels are fitted must not face onto and be visible from a road.
If you want to dive into the detail the General Permitted Development Order (2015) is the legislation document in question. The most relevant part is Part 14, Class A which relates to installation or alteration of solar equipment on domestic premises, although all of Part 14 relates to renewable energy.
Are there Complications and Grey Areas?
In planning there are some. In particular these may arise when you are in a conservation area. The bottom line in these cases is that you have a few key choices:
If you want a definitive answer from the council it may be best to apply for a lawful development certificate from your local authority. This is less expensive than a planning application. The answer you receive is either permission to make the lawful development, or you will be told you need to make a planning application.
Ask for a consultation with your planning office. This is likely to be a similar cost to a lawful development certificate (it varies somewhat across the country).
Important considerations that may help you decide are:
Are there already solar panels installed in the area?
Talk to your neighbours. Are they likely to support solar panels?
Are there any further specific terms in your property deeds that place any limits on what you can do in the conservation area?
If you are not sure, we are happy to talk it through with you.