Planning permission associated with Solar Thermal

In England and Wales, the domestic installation of mounted solar collectors is likely to be considered ‘permitted development’, meaning that there is no need to apply to the council for planning permission. The following conditions must be met, however:

  • solar collectors should protrude no more than 200mm (20cm) from the surface on which they are installed (roof slope/wall face)
  • collectors should not be installed above the highest part of the roof
  • collectors should be installed, so far as is possible, to minimise the aesthetic impact upon the building’s exterior
  • collectors must not be installed on a property located within the grounds of a listed building or on a site designated as a scheduled monument
  • In the case of wall mounted arrays, if the property is located in a conservation area or World Heritage site, collectors must not be placed on a wall which faces the road
  • when no longer operational, collectors should be removed from the property’s roof as soon as possible

In Scotland the following conditions must be met:

  • collectors must not be installed above the highest point of the roof (excluding the chimney)
  • If installed on a flat roof, collectors must be situated at least 1 meter from the edge of the roof and must not protrude more than 1 meter from the roof’s surface
  • If the property is located in a World Heritage Site or conservation area, solar collectors should not be mounted on the front face of the building/the side of the building visible from the public road

There are important exceptions to the permitted development rule, such as if your property is listed or located in a conservation area. It is advisable to check with your local planning officer if your property falls into these categories.


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