Government extends solar planning permission

The government has confirmed that it will extend permitted development to all rooftop solar up to 1MW.

The current limit for solar installations which do not require planning permission is 50kW.

Both the REA and STA have welcomed the move as a way of increasing deployment in the commercial sector.

Renewable Energy Association’s chief executive, Dr Nina Skorupska, said: “We are delighted with today’s announcement which will make it much easier for factories, farms, hospitals, bus stations and other commercial buildings to generate their own sustainable electricity while also saving themselves money and resources.

“Solar installed on commercial buildings has the potential to generate significant amounts of clean electricity, yet it is a considerably underdeveloped area, and the rigidity of the planning system has long been a major barrier to its progress.”

STA business analyst, David Pickup, added: “Getting planning permission is an extra hoop to jump through, and we are delighted that this is one more barrier to getting solar on roofs that has been removed.

“Extending the threshold from 50kW to 1MW is a boost for commercial solar. So many warehouses, factories and offices could save money on their energy bills by having solar PV on their roofs. However, there isn’t enough room for this market to grow before the Feed-in Tariff drops to zero, killing the market completely.

“Our upcoming Solar Independence Plan will show a way to allow more growth in this crucial sector.”