Consents and Approvals

Renewable electricity installations may need various permissions before they can be built, connected or registered for tariffs.

Though these are not necessarily part of the FITs regulations, we thought it would be helpful to list the main ones

Planning Consent

Most renewable energy installations at the domestic level are covered by so-called ‘permitted development’ (so they don’t need planning permissions), except

  • In conservation areas or on listed buildings
  • Wind turbines and air-source heat pumps
  • If they are above certain sizes

Fuller details on what the permitted development order covers are available here.

Non-residential installations do need permission, except inside existing buildings.

More details about planning fees are available here.

Connection Approval

Whenever electricity generating installations are connected to the grid, it is necessary to notify, or seek approval from, the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) responsible for that part of the grid. The requirements are:

  • For small systems less than 16 amps per phase; to conform with Engineering Recommendation G83, which requires the DNO to be notified
  • For larger systems; to conform with G59, which requires prior approval from the DNO. There may also need to be upgrades to the grid for which the new plant owner may be liable (the DNO will advise).

The Energy Networks Association can provide the relevant Engineering Recommendations and also a map showing which DNO covers each area of the country.

Accreditation for the FITs

Installations need to be accredited for the tariffs as described here. Some may be eligible for preliminary accreditation (before they are actually installed).

Technology-specific requirements

Some technologies have further requirements:

  • Hydro-electric systems need an abstraction licence from the Environment Agency to use the water from the stream
  • Biomass and other fuel-burning installations may need approval from the local authority under the Clean Air Act