Petition Require all new builds to have solar panels as condition of planning permission

Make it mandatory for all new buildings to be fitted with solar panels as a condition of planning permission.

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This should help achieve our net zero goals without sacrificing more areas of beauty. It should also help to bring down household bills, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions.

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Government responded

This response was given on 23 November 2022

We do not mandate solar panels to enable innovation and tailoring to individual sites. However we expect most developers will use solar panels to meet the recent uplift in energy efficiency standards.

The Government is committed to meeting its target of net zero emissions by 2050 and renewable energy, such as that generated from solar panels, is a key part of our strategy to get to net zero.

Planning policy cannot set specific building standards, that is the role of Building Regulations. The Building Regulations set standards for the design, construction and alteration of buildings, which means they are an important mechanism for improving the energy efficiency of buildings. The Regulations are technology-neutral and therefore do not ban or mandate specific technologies. This provides developers with flexibility to innovate and choose the most appropriate and cost-effective solutions for their site. For instance, some homes may not be suitable for solar panels due to reasons such as shading, orientation, and roof size/shape.

We recognise, however, the important role that rooftop solar panels can play in making buildings more energy efficient. We must therefore take the opportunity, where appropriate, to fit solar panels.

In December 2021 the Government introduced an uplift in energy efficiency standards, which came into force in June 2022. The uplift delivers a meaningful reduction in carbon emissions, with new homes now expected to produce around 30% less CO2 emissions and new non-domestic buildings expected to produce around 27% less CO2 emissions compared to those built to the previous standards. We expect that to meet the new standards, most new homes and buildings will be built with solar panels. Where they do not include solar panels, they are likely to include other low carbon heating technology, such as heat pumps.

The uplift is a stepping-stone towards the 2025 Future Homes and Buildings Standards, which will deliver even higher energy efficiency standards. From 2025, new homes and buildings will be ‘zero carbon ready’, which means that no further retrofit work for energy efficiency will be necessary to enable them to become zero-carbon as the electricity grid continues to decarbonise. We expect heat pumps will become the primary heating technology for new buildings under the Future Homes and Buildings Standards. Other green technologies, such as solar panels, will also continue to play an important role.

With regards to the planning framework, our National Planning Policy Framework sets out policies that encourage local planning authorities to consider the use and supply of renewable and low carbon energy and heat through plan making and when determining planning applications.

There are a range of nationally set permitted development rights that allow for the installation of micro-generation equipment, including rooftop solar panels on domestic and non-domestic properties, without having to make a planning application. We will keep the existing permitted development rights for solar equipment under regular review.

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

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