Do I Need Permission To Install Solar Power?

A common question we get asked by customers is: do I need permission to install solar power?

Council Permission to Install Solar Power

Every council is different and we must emphasise that it is the homeowner’s responsibility to comply with council regulations. The following is general advice only, based on our experience of installing thousands of solar systems across NSW.

Firstly, if your solar system is installed on a roof that does not face the street, you will not need permission from the council. We have never had an installation stopped by the council for an installation facing away from the street.

If you want to use a street-facing roof, you may need to get council permission to install a solar system in specific cases. The examples we have come across are:

  • A building that is heritage listed
  • A building that is in a heritage-listed area, such as in the Inner-West and on the North Shore

Permission From Strata Management To Install Solar

If you live in a building that has a Strata Plan, you will need permission to install a solar system on any roof section Many of our customers have successfully had bye-laws passed in order to install a solar system, however in most cases it has been for homes that have their own roof – for example, townhouses. In buildings with a common roof such as multi-storey unit blocks, we do not see many successful applications mainly due to the cost, hassle and legal implications.

The other type of strata agreement we see is in new housing developments such as parts of The Ponds and around Kellyville in Western Sydney. In these areas, there can be restrictions on using a street-facing roof for solar power. In almost all cases we are permitted to use the roof along the side of your house or out the back. If you have a strata agreement it is important to check with your strata management company that you are permitted to install a solar power system.

Do I need to inform my neighbours that I’m installing Solar Power?

No, you don’t need to inform your neighbours. Furthermore, solar panels are designed to minimise reflection so that as much of the sunlight as possible makes it through the glass to hit the solar cells. Depending on how friendly you are with your neighbours, you may want to knock on their door and explain this to them if you are installing panels close to their windows.

Do I need a DA when installing solar power as a part of a renovation or new build?

The rules are actually quite simple with regards to solar power systems on a new build.

If you are installing a system that is less than 10kW, the solar system is an exempt development – Division 4, 39 (3) (f) (vi).

If you are installing a system that is between 10kW and 100kW, the system is a development permitted with consent – Division 4  section 34 (8). Our advice is that you must get consent from the local council by acquiring a Complying Development Certificate, and by complying with any the other requirements as laid out in the legislation. Here is the link to the NSW State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure).

Any questions? Drop a comment below or give us a call on 1300 221 586. We would be happy to help.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Comments

  1. Michael Bo

    What about if solar panels will reduce the amount of light for neighbours on the south side of a dwelling? In other words if panels are installed on the south facing roof and are tilted towards the north, the could reduce the sunlight for a neighbouring dwelling to the south. Do I need permission from neighbour or council in that instance?

    • Solaray

      Hi Michael,
      It is not a good idea to tilt panels like that because of the risk of damage in strong winds. The most we would recommend is a small tilt back to flat if the roof is slightly tilted south (less than 5 degrees, for example). On a roof where the tilt is more like 20-25 degrees we strongly don’t recommend tilting panels back towards the north due to the risk of damage in strong winds.
      To answer your question directly, you wouldn’t need permission to install panels on tilt frames.
      Regards,
      Tom from Solaray.

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  1. […] than 10kW, you will have to check with your local government if development approval is required. Here’s a link for NSW residents. It’s a great overview, but you should check with your local council. The great thing is, under […]

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