As do all large construction plans, the installation of solar panels to the land or to a roof require an application for planning permission to be submitted to a local government authority. Small scale projects such as private installation of solar panels aren’t required to undertake planning permission but due to the potential visual impact of a large scale commercial project, plans will first need to be assessed. In addition to the submission of plans a planning application fee also needs to be paid, which can sometimes be in excess of £200,000 if the proposed project is large enough.
Luckily, the installation of solar panels – particularly on a large scale – is greatly supported by the UK government especially since entering agreements with the EU to reduce CO2 emissions. As a result, planning applications for the installation of solar panels are more likely to be submitted than plans for commercial premises for example. Further, part of the assessment that the local authorities undertake when reviewing a planning application is to gauge the local reaction to the proposed project. Depending on the location, a proposal to install a large number of solar panels to a commercial premises may be received well by the local community. If this is the case, commercial plans to install solar panels may be more likely to be permitted.
Another consideration that will increase the likelihood of a business successfully obtaining planning permission for solar panels is where they are proposed to be installed. Solar fields for example commonly encounter opposition from the public who may report the solar panels as visual disruptions. Roof mounted solar panels, however, are much less likely to encounter opposition. In addition, roofs may even sometimes be more optimal for energy capture than the use of fields depending on the direction to which the roof faces.
We recently published a post about the misconception of solar panels which you might be interested in reading.