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29/09/2016

Welsh ministers mull report on changes to PDR for non-domestic solar

Words: Roger Milne

The Welsh Government has published a report that examines existing permitted development rights for non-domestic solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal panels and whether they remain fit for purpose.

The report also considers options for amending them.

The document highlights that in other parts of the UK, moves are underway to adopt a more flexible approach and to increase the capacity of non-domestic solar installations deemed as permitted development.

Present permitted development rights are based on an energy output threshold that is generally regarded as too low to meet current and future needs.

The report:

  • Reviews the approaches to permitted development rights for non-domestic solar panels being taken by other UK administrations;

  • Examines current and future solar panel technology; and

  • Assesses and provides recommendations on three options.

These could involve an increased permitted development right threshold, the removal of the permitted development right threshold in favour of an impact assessment approach or the introduction of an impact approach with prior notification.

The report states that solar PV and solar thermal panels are a key renewable energy technology in Wales and benefit from both domestic and non-domestic permitted development rights. The current permitted development right energy capacity threshold in Wales for both domestic and non-domestic solar panel and thermal installations is determined by a definition of microgeneration which is 45kW thermal and 50kW electrical.

Currently, solar development on the roof or wall of buildings above 50kW requires full planning permission from the local planning authority.

The report can be found here (pdf).

Image credit | Shuttershock

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