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Solar photovoltaics (PV) panels, also known as solar power, generate electricity from the sun. Large scale solar PV installations are known as solar farms.

Battery storage is a technology that stores electricity as chemical energy.

Planning is a devolved matter. The main focus of this briefing is on planning in England. The joint briefing paper Comparison of the planning systems in the four UK countries: 2016 update provides information about planning and consenting regimes in the other UK countries.[1]

Above a threshold (set out in Section 15 of the Planning Act 2008) of more than 50MW for onshore and more than 100 MW for offshore generation, solar farms will be treated as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects, for which a Development Consent Order must be sought from the Secretary of State.

Below this threshold, solar farms will require planning permission from the local planning authority (LPA); under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, LPAs are responsible for renewable and low carbon energy development of 50 MW or less installed capacity.

The Infrastructure Planning (Electricity Storage Facilities) Order 2020 [2] removed electricity storage (including batteries, but with the exception of pumped hydro storage) from the NSIP procedure. Instead electricity storage facilities are subject to planning permission from the LPA.

[1]     CBP 7459

[2]     SI 2020 No. 1218

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