With the cost of solar PV coming down considerably in price in recent years, increasingly people are recognising solar as a legitimate investment opportunity.

A solar PV installation will not only save you pounds on your electricity bills, but give you a healthy, tax-free, guaranteed return on your initial investment.

Like most large-scale building projects, every solar PV installation is subject to a number of regulations. So, before embarking on your solar journey, we recommend you take a look at this short guide, so you can be sure your home ticks all the relevant solar PV boxes.

Permitted developments
In the majority of cases, installing solar PV will not require planning permission, as solar panels are classified as “Permitted Developments” (PD) under the relevant legislation. To avoid the need for permission, panels must:

  • Not be installed above the highest point of the property (not including chimneys);
  • Be fitted in a way that least affects the external appearance of the property and the surrounding area;
  • Not protrude more than 200mm from the surface of your roof

Planning permission
While most solar PV installations will be classified as a PD, you will need to seek planning permission from your local authority if your solar panels:

  • Do not meet the PD requirements set out above;
  • Are to be installed on a listed building;
  • Are to be installed on a World Heritage site;
  • Are standalone and you plan to install multiple units (the first standalone unit is a PD)

It is your responsibility as the owner of the premises to obtain planning permission. If planning permission is required but denied by the local authority, the solar PV installation will not be able to proceed.

Any deposit paid to Roxon Electrical in respect of a solar PV installation that cannot be carried out due to planning permission not being granted will be refunded in full (although, planning permission should normally be obtained prior to any financial agreement being entered into or installation date confirmed).

Building Regulations
Regardless of whether planning permission is necessary or not, solar panel installations are normally subject to standard building regulations.

The best way to avoid any problems with building regulations is to use a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certified installation company, such as Roxon Electrical, to fit your solar panels.

The latest building regulations guidelines clearly state there are a number of ‘competent persons’ schemes eligible for microgeneration technologies, including solar panels. These schemes are also part of the MCS.

A full and clear guide to all of this is available from the Communities and Local Government (CLG) department and can be found here (clicking this link will download a pdf document). The bottom of page five clearly shows the list of schemes that are eligible, including for example NICEIC.

We always recommend that potential solar PV customers obtain several quotes when deciding which solar installer to use. When choosing an installer, ensure they are MSC-accredited and a member of one of the listed schemes and, as ever is the case, seek local customer recommendations if possible.

If you are a leaseholder you may need to get permission from your landlord, freeholder or management company to install solar PV.

When installing rooftop solar PV, building regulations will normally apply. The ability of the existing roof to carry the load (weight) of the panels will need to be checked and proven.

Building regulations also apply to other aspects of the work, such as electrical installation.

EPC requirements
EPC stands for Energy Performance Certificate. All solar PV customers must provide an EPC with their Feed-in Tariff (FIT) application, showing the building the installation is attached to, or wired to provide electricity to, is a level D or above.

This is not an MCS requirement, therefore it is the customer’s responsibility to obtain the EPC before they apply for the FIT. 

However, if you require an EPC and are having your solar PV installation carried out by Roxon Electrical, we will arrange for an accredited EPC assessor to get in contact to arrange a survey prior to your installation date. The cost of this will be included in your solar PV quotation and will not incur an additional fee.

You will only be able to claim the higher rate (available to you at the time of the application) if you can provide the EPC with the application. 

When is the EPC required?
When installing a PV system on a site for the first time (with the view of claiming the FIT), an EPC is required to be issued before the eligibility date of the installation.

Full guidance on the new EPC requirements has been published by Ofgem and can be found here.

Your right to cancel – and what happens if things go wrong
Businesses, such as Roxon Electrical, which have signed up to the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC) are committed to providing you with high standards of service and expertise. Occasionally, however, problems can develop or, you may have a change of heart and decide to cancel your installation.

In either circumstance, RECC members are obliged to abide by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. Click here to open a copy of the RECC consumer leaflet, which has all the information you might need.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have a specific date your Roxon solar PV installation MUST be completed by, please advise prior to your solar survey so we can ensure we have availability on or before that date.