In many cases installing solar panels on commercial and industrial property is likely to be considered ‘permitted development’ with no need to apply to the council for planning permission. There are, however, important limits and conditions which must be met to benefit from the permitted development rights (see below).

Non domestic land for the purposes of these permitted development rights is broad and can include businesses and community buildings.

Conditions that need to be met for solar panels mounted on a non domestic building:

  • Panels should be sited, so far as is practicable, to minimise the effect on the external appearance of the building and the amenity of the area.
  • When no longer needed for microgeneration, solar panels should be removed as soon as reasonably practicable.

All the following limits must be met:

  • Solar panels installed on a wall or a pitched roof should project no more than 200mm from the wall surface or roof slope.
  • Where panels are installed on a flat roof the highest part of the equipment should not be more than one metre above the highest part of the roof (excluding the chimney).
  • Equipment mounted on a roof must not be within one metre of the external edge of the roof.
  • Equipment mounted on a wall must not be within one metre of a junction of that wall with another wall or with the roof of the building.
  • The panels must not be installed on a listed building or on a building that is within the grounds of a listed building.
  • The panels must not be installed on a site designated as a scheduled monument.
  • If the building is on designated land* the equipment must not be installed on a wall or a roof slope which fronts a highway.