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Am I allowed to install solar panels?

Most people who are looking to install a solar pv installation do so having done a significant amount of research. They will have looked into the different panels and inverters to make sure the installation will provide the return on investment that they expect. They will more than likely have researched and spoken to a handful of solar pv installation companies in order to feel comfortable and confident that the company they are instructing to carry out the solar pv installation is a sound and reputable solar pv installation company. In short, the vast majority of all people considering solar pv will be certain that the investment is right for them.

Despite undertaking all the due diligence covered in the previous paragraph, there is one question that trumps it all:

“Am I allowed to install solar panels in the first place?”

No, not “Will the Mrs let me spend our savings on it?” but rather “Do we need planning permission?” The answer to this question depends, as you would expect, on the individual circumstances of the potential solar pv customer. However, a person is more likely to require planning permission if they fall into one of the following three categories:

  1. The panels are to be installed on or in the grounds of a listed building.
  2. The panels are to be installed on a building or in the grounds of a building in a conservation area.
  3. The panels are to be installed on a building or in the grounds of a building in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Answering yes to any of these questions does not automatically mean permission will be denied or even needed, but it is advisable that the local authority is consulted as any solar pv installation that is removed due to not having permission is done so at the customer’s cost.

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