Scottish solar industry set for brighter future if Govt. abolishes need for planning requirement

Solar power roofScotland’s solar power industry is set for a major boost – if the government abolishes the current requirement for planning permission to mount solar panels on the roofs of commercial buildings.

The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on the waiving of planning permission – if certain requirements are fulfilled – for commercial non-domestic rooftop solar.

Domestic solar on residential homes already benefits from this exemption from planning permission.

The Solar Trade Association (STA) Scotland has welcomed this consultation, after the issue was raised at all levels of the Scottish Government as a barrier to more solar deployment.

John Forster, Scotland Chairman, STA, commented: “We are delighted that, so soon after our engagement with the Scottish Government, Scotland is not just going to equal but go further than England on permitted development for solar.

“This will help enormously in fulfilling Scotland’s solar potential and fulfilling Scotland’s 100% renewables target. But most importantly, it will make it easier for Scottish businesses to save money on their energy bills by putting solar on their roofs.”

The announcement follows a similar move south of the border earlier this year, and goes further as in England the waiver only applies to roof installations up to 1MW in size, the size of a big warehouse or factory. In Scotland there will be no upper limit to the size of the roof or installation.

STA Scotland has also welcomed the fact that the proposed permitted development rights will not require prior notification, will apply to solar thermal as well as solar PV and will also apply near airports.

The planning proposals will now undergo a process of consultation and all interested parties have until August to respond. The final decision will be confirmed thereafter

Meanwhile, the STA has arranged a series of solar open days across Scotland for Solar Independence Day – the UK’s annual solar celebration. On 3 – 4 July Edinburgh College, Cronan Farm, and Pitmedden Garden will open their rooftops to the public to showcase what they have achieved with the technology.

A spokesman said: “Solar Independence Day will show how versatile this technology is. We’ve got everything from a housing estate in Northumberland to a stately home in Aberdeenshire, a community solar farm in Hampshire to a waste facility in Berkshire, all generating clean, green home-grown electricity.”




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