Photovoltaic Cells and Solar Hot Water Panels

Policy EM1 – Extensions and Alterations

Policy EM5 - Energy Efficiency and Other Roof Alterations

Welwyn Garden City’s Estate Management Team support and encourage residents who wish to offset climate change. The challenge is to balance the high quality and distinctive merits of Garden City buildings with the need to reduce consumption of unsustainable energy resources.

Not every property is large enough or orientated in the right direction to accommodate installation with an area large enough to supply 100% of the building's hot water and electricity. If it is considered the installation of solar panels/PV cells is usually acceptable, the following criteria are followed:

  • Panel locations should be assessed to ensure the proposed development, when viewed from any surrounding public vantage point such as public footpaths, open space or gaps between buildings, does not have a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the street scene and the wider amenities and values of the area;
  • Where possible, panels should be set out in a rectangular form to avoid overly fragmented edges.
  • Panels may be allowed on more than one roof plane, however, installations will be assessed on a case by case basis to avoid inappropriate multiple ‘pepper potted’ installations;
  • Panels must not dominate the building and should be set down from roof ridge and set in at a suitable distance from roof edge.

Exceptions to this design approach will apply where, in the judgement of the case officer, the architectural design and style of an individual property or the wider character of the area means that an alteration on a principal roof slope of a property would not have a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the street and wider amenities and values of the area.

In all cases the decision maker will continue to weigh the environmental benefits of energy efficiency measures against the visual impact.

The use of detached garages, shed or outbuildings may be more acceptable for the placing of Solar and PV Panels given there typical reduced height, presents on the street and vantage views.

Metal reflector paint behind vacuum tubes is not acceptable.

Wall mounted panels are not acceptable in any position.

Solar technology is evolving all the time and we will consider applications for new evolutions of the technology based on the principles outlined in this section.

Page updated: 3/10/2022

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