Solar PV in planning-sensitive areas: can it be done?

Renewable energy is currently at the top of the government's agenda and local planning offices are being pushed to use their judgement wisely when assessing requests for solar panel installations.

There are plenty of positives to living in a listed building or a conservation area. However, you may have dismissed the idea of installing solar panels as something that is just too difficult to get approved by the planning department.


Fortunately, it is easier than you may think! Renewable energy is currently at the top of the government's agenda and local planning offices are being pushed to use their judgement wisely when assessing requests for solar panel installations.

I live in a conservation area – can I install solar panels?

The simple answer is ‘yes'. Even if your property is within a conservation area, there is every chance that your application for solar panel installation will be accepted. It is worth checking whether other buildings in the area also have solar panels installed – it means it is more likely that planning consent will be given. However, applications are always taken on their own merit so don't be discouraged if you don't see any around.

When it comes to generating energy from solar in conservation areas, planning permission is needed when panels are to be fitted to the principal elevation or aspect of the building. In many cases, this will be the front of the house.

In other words, if you plan on installing solar panels in a place which can be clearly seen from the road, you should check whether you will need planning consent. This goes for any other buildings on the same property, such as a shed or a garage. Otherwise, planning consent isn't needed unless you also live in a listed building.

Solar installations on listed buildings – what's the problem?

When it comes to solar PV for listed buildings, the potential problems concern the visibility of the panels, as well as their structural impact on the building.

If you're looking at fitting solar panels to a slate roof, flexible systems such as solar slates can help to minimise the visual impact on the house whilst safeguarding it. A solar slate or solar tile roof can be designed to mimic the appearance of the natural slate, maintaining the appearance of the building.

Integrated solar PV roof slates have an added benefit of minimising the risk of damage caused to the building by a solar panel installation. They weigh the same amount as natural slate and are fixed to the building in the same way. This is also great should you ever need to uninstall them as they can be removed easily.

Don't be discouraged

Don't think that because you live in a planning-sensitive area, there is nothing you can do to unhook yourself from the fossil fuelled lifestyle! The technology is now available to make your solar PV installation as stress-free as possible.

To find out more please contact Solar Slate Limited on 01454 627 841 or email info@solarslate-ltd.com.

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