The government has confirmed that homes with flat roofs can now install solar photovoltaic (PV) panels without planning permission.

As part of the confirmation, the government also removed the 1MW capacity restriction, which required businesses to apply for planning permission if its solar panels were to generate over 1MW of electricity.

Announced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities late last week (30 November), the changes to permitted development rights rules is hoped to slash the wait-time for rooftop solar installations caused by the planning system – which usually includes waiting over eight weeks and can involve extra costs – and encourage more people to install solar panels on their homes.

Housing and planning minister, Lee Rowley MP, said the move amounts to “cutting red-tape in the planning system,” removing costly delays for those looking to install solar panels and benefit from cheap renewable energy.

Solar panels installed on a flat roof for Mr PS near Dollis Hill, London (NW2)

Solar panels installed on a flat roof for Mr PS near Dollis Hill, London (NW2)

These permitted development rights will still be subject to conditions, including use in conservation areas, added Rowley.

Energy security and net zero minister, Graham Stuart MP, added that the move will help the UK reach its 70GW by 2035 solar target, as well as supporting long-term skilled jobs.

The legislation was welcomed by the solar industry. Commenting on the announcement, Solar Energy UK chief executive Chris Hewett said: “The potential of installing solar power on large commercial rooftops is vast, its prospective capacity having been estimated at 15GW across the country.

Read more: SolarPowerPortal