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Solar Panels

Your property has the benefit of solar panels. This could fall within the ambit of “permitted development”. In order for “permitted development” to apply, the following conditions must apply where the panels are mounted to a house or on a building within the grounds of a house:

  • They must be placed, where possible, in such a manner as to have no or a limited effect of the appearance of the building and the area;
  • If no longer being used they should be removed as quickly as possible;
  • They must be above the highest part of the rood. This does not include the chimney;
  • They must not be more than 200mm from the roof slope or wall;
  • They cannot be installed on a listed building or within its grounds;
  • They cannot be installed in an area designated as a scheduled monument;
  • If the property is in a conservation area, they must not be mounted on a wall which faces the highway

If they are stand alone panels i.e. not on a building:

  • They should be placed so has to have nominal visual impact on the area;
  • They should be removed as soon as they are no longer needed;
  • Only the first stand alone installation will be considered as permitted development. Any further installations will need to have planning permission;
  • They must nor rise above the ground more than four metres;
  • They must be a minimum of 5 metres from the boundary of the property;
  • The area covered by the panels must be no more than 9 square metres;
  • They cannot be installed within the boundary of a listed building or a scheduled monument;
  • They cannot be nearer the highway the nearest part of the house if it is in a conservation area or a World Heritage Site

They do need to have Building Regulations Approval if they are attached to the roof as it will have to be ascertained that the roof is able to withstand the additional weight that the panels put upon it. The Building Regulations Approval is also required in respect of the electrical installation side of the panels to ensure that this was carried out by a competent person.

Solar panels can be owned outright or leased.

If they are owned outright then we need to establish the ownership and to whom any electricity is supplied back to.

If they are leased the panel suppliers keep the ownership of them and a lease is granted, normally for 25 years on the rood and the airspace above. This way they retain the income from any electricity fed back to the electricity supplier. This means free electricity and no costs of installation. However this usually means that your roof is leased and you do not own it. This is a bit like leasing part of a garden from someone or, in fact, the house itself., but it is only the roof. The legal commitment is no different even though it is unlikely that you would want to use the roof for anything other than as a covering to the property. Does the lease provide for removal of the panels if works to the roof need to be carried out for, for example?

Further, it is believed by lenders that solar panels affect the marketability of properties, not least kerb appeal. Some are more intrusive than others and could put potential purchasers off.

Some valuers also share this view.

For further information contact Matthew Winder on 01524 39760

We have offices at Lancaster, Kendal and Barrow.

Posted , categories Legal industry News