The UK commercial rooftop industry received another boost this morning after Eric Pickles increased the permitted development threshold for rooftop solar panels installed on commercial property to 1MW.
The secretary of state for communities and local government will raise the threshold from 50kW to 1MW, removing the red tape surrounding developments less than 1MW in scale.
While no official confirmation has yet been made, the Department for Communities and Local Government informed Solar Power Portal this morning that an announcement is to be made later today.
Renewable Energy Association chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska said the trade body was delighted at the announcement, and claimed it would now be much easier for commercial buildings across the UK to generate their own electricity.
“Solar installed on commercial buildings has the potential to generate significant amounts of clean electricity, yet it is a considerably underdeveloped area, and the rigidity of the planning system has long been a major barrier to its progress.
“Increasing the threshold before a full planning application is required for a solar installation is a simple but effective step which will lift the shackles from the sector, and will help developers avoid uncertainty in terms of degression of feed-in tariff rates,” she said.
Solar Trade Association business analyst David Pickup said the trade body was pleased to see “one more barrier” to having solar rooftop installations removed.
“Extending the threshold from 50kW to 1MW is a boost for commercial solar. So many warehouses, factories and offices could save money on their energy bills by having solar PV on their roofs,” he said.
The announcement comes less than a week after the Department for Energy and Climate Change rubber stamped ‘lift and shift’ proposals, allowing businesses to take solar PV installations with them should they move premises without impacting their feed-in tariff agreements.
Simon Booth, Managing Director REI says “This is a great filip for the industry. Medium and larger sized commercial installations will now be freed from the rigours of red-tape surrounding planning permission, which until now, has hampered the commercial solar market somewhat”.