Scotland set to reform planning rules to incentivise rooftop solar installations. Image: Getty.

Scotland is set to reform its planning rules for solar energy to incentivise rooftop installations across the nation.

The Scottish Government stated that it has pledged to consult on lifting the need to obtain planning permission for larger solar installations on non-domestic buildings early next year, bringing it in line with planning rules in England.

This will be welcome news to the United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) who last month argued that unused roofs on warehouses total 18,500 acres of land meaning the UK is missing out on 15GW of solar energy.

By implementing policy that does not require planning permission for non-domestic solar installations, this could make the process simpler and could rapidly scale the Scottish solar industry much like the rest of the UK.

“We are very happy to hear that the Scottish Government has listened to what the industry and businesses are saying and will consult on removing this unnecessary red tape. It is a recognition that the current planning regime contradicts the pressing need to address the energy price crisis and net zero,” said Emily Rice, policy analyst at Solar Energy Scotland.

Solar Energy Scotland called on the government earlier this year to remove legacy planning barriers for both large and small solar developments.

The call was made as the closing date for the National Planning Framework 4 consultation loomed, with the trade association having identified a number of modifications that were required to truly boost solar in Scotland.

Because of this, news of the recent plans to reform planning rules for rooftop solar will be a welcome addition to the sector.

In October 2021, Solar Energy Scotland also called on the government to set a minimum target of 4GW of installed solar capacity by 2030, as it asked it to raise its game.

The Scottish Government had already been proposing 8-12GW onshore and 11GW offshore wind targets, but there hadn’t been a target for solar. An ambition of up to 6GW of solar would be possible, although at the time, the trade association was calling for 4GW.