From today, April 6th, all homeowners will be able to install microgeneration equipment, like solar panels, without needing to get planning permission, as long as there is clearly no impact on others. Many householders want to install microgeneration technology, but are often put off by the time and cost involved in getting planning permission first.
Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks said, “The fight against climate change is not just about multi million pound renewable energy projects. Solar panels, biomass and heat pumps also have a vital role to play. Installing small-scale devices has just become a lot easier for homeowners. Microgeneration enables the concerned individual to become an active citizen in tackling global warming.”
“Now planning permission has been relaxed, I believe this will encourage more people to install these devices. The Government’s Low Carbon Buildings Programme even provides grants for homeowners towards the costs.”
The National Energy Foundation (NEF) says however that whilst it is good news that planning law has been relaxed the government has been reducing the grant amount available to an installation. Currently it stands at just £400 for a solar thermal installation which costs a minimum of £3000, with a pay-back period of between 10-20 years. The situation is even worse for solar pv and this says the NEF is holding back any substantial growth as it is not currently financially viable.
The government needs to do more if they are serious about micro generation.