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Government to remove planning permission for roof-top solar PV up to 1MW

DECC’s recent Solar Strategy plans to extend permitted development to all non-domestic roof-top solar PV schemes up to 1MW in size.

The proposal is contained in a newly published consultation by the Department for Communities and Local Government on technical planning issues.

Currently planning permission is not required for solar schemes of up to 50kW in size, in most circumstances.

If the move is successful this would mean that schemes 20 times this would not need planning permission in most circumstances.

According to the STA, there is frustration in the solar sector that, despite strong political rhetoric in support of the large roof-top sector, this is not matched by the policy framework.

As a result, just 65MW of roof top solar PV schemes in the 50kW-5MW band were built from June 2013 to June 2014. The STA says this amounts to just a handful of large roof-top solar PV schemes each year.

STA chief executive Paul Barwell said: “We are pleased to see government is taking an important step to help deliver the strong solar PV roof-top market set out as a key objective in the Solar Strategy. We very much welcome this move.

“Solar power enjoys the highest levels of public support and it is an attractive addition to many warehouses, supermarkets and commercial buildings. However, the very poor levels of large roof-top deployment show that much more needs to be done to put the promised ‘rocket boosters’ under this market.

“Larger roof-top schemes still face more deployment risks than they should and they risk being deprived of resources even when they are highly cost-effective. We will continue to press DECC to comprehensively tackle the barriers to its roof-top revolution set out in its Solar Strategy.”

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