Search

What is the best way to go about installing solar panels on my tenement building?

Installing solar panels is one way to reduce your energy bills and the carbon footprint of your property. However, for tenement flat owners, there are a number of things to consider and certain steps that need to be taken before installing solar panels on the roof of your building.

Do your research

You will first need to speak to organisations dedicated to helping you with the process, legalities, and funding of installation, such as Changeworks, the Energy Saving Trust, and Home Energy Scotland.

Obtain planning consent from your local council

If the installation is 50 kW or less, it will likely will not require planning permission, though it would be wise to double check with your local council before proceeding. No matter what, the installation will still be subject to certain conditions and limits, such as whether the panels are roof or ground mounted. You may need planning permission if you live in a listed building or conservation area.

Contact your co-owners and get consent

Assuming your title deeds are silent on the issue of solar panels, the Tenements Act states that all owners in a tenement building are responsible for any changes or alterations made to the roof.

The Tenements Act does not specify whether installing solar panels (including the related cabling) is considered maintenance, and therefore needs the majority approval of owners, or is an improvement and therefore needs the agreement of all owners in the building to go ahead. If one or more owners is opposed to installation, you should seek the advice of a solicitor before proceeding.

Additionally, if the solar panel installation does not provide benefit to all owners, you may need to consider offering in writing to pay for the removal and reinstallation of the solar panels if the roof needs repairing, as well as a commitment to cover the costs of any damage caused to the roof during installation or by maintenance of the solar panels in the future. You will want to speak to a solicitor before drawing up such an agreement.

Alternative options to consider

If you live in a four-in-a-block property, you may want to consider installing solar panels in the back garden, instead of the roof, if this area gets enough sun. This can avoid some of the issues with roof installation, such as the risk of damage to the roof and needing consent from other owners to lead cables over communal walls. If choosing to install solar panels in the back garden, you will need to check your title deeds as to any relevant rules regarding the back garden, and still need consent from co-owners before proceeding.

As you will have noted above, installing solar panels is difficult due to the rules you are required to follow regarding common maintenance in a tenement flat. However, if you are keen to reduce the carbon footprint of your building, consider taking a ‘fabric first’ approach. This involves making alterations to the material of the building, such as wall insulation, draught-proofing windows, or insulation under the floor to improve its energy efficiency and lower emissions output.

Recent articles
Recent articles

A short guide to maintaining gutters

Cleaning your gutters is a key way to maintain your property’s value as it can prevent damage caused by damp. Due to climate change, rainfall in Scotland has increased significantly over the last 70 years and gutters need to be maintained to cope with this change.

Response to Cladding Bill Consultation

The Scottish Government has published a consultation to their proposed Cladding Bill, which seeks to address a number of issues related owners manging the issue of cladding in certain buildings in Scotland.

For sale: the Tenement Handbook

Did you know that Under One Roof originated from The Tenement Handbook: A Practical Guide to Living in a Tenement? The book was published in 1993, written by our founders John Gilbert and Annie Flint, and provided everything someone living in a tenement flat would need to know about their building. This book became the Under One Roof website. 

Latest updates

Repairing Standard update: lead in water testing

In March 2023, the Scottish Government announced a series of updates to the existing Repairing Standard that will be enforceable from 1st March 2024. As part of these updates, private landlords must

A short guide to maintaining gutters

Cleaning your gutters is a key way to maintain your property’s value as it can prevent damage caused by damp. Due to climate change, rainfall in Scotland has increased significantly over the last 70 years and gutters need to be maintained to cope with this change.

Response to Cladding Bill Consultation

The Scottish Government has published a consultation to their proposed Cladding Bill, which seeks to address a number of issues related owners manging the issue of cladding in certain buildings in Scotland.

What is retrofit?

Retrofit refers to the strategic improvement of existing buildings, so that they are better able to meet modern energy efficiency standards. It can involve installing a new low to zero-emissions heating system in a building or simply adding double glazing, with the common aim of decreasing energy consumption and reducing carbon emission outputs from homes. 

Repairing Standard update: lead in water testing

In March 2023, the Scottish Government announced a series of updates to the existing Repairing Standard that will be enforceable from 1st March 2024. As part of these updates, private landlords must

A short guide to maintaining gutters

Cleaning your gutters is a key way to maintain your property’s value as it can prevent damage caused by damp. Due to climate change, rainfall in Scotland has increased significantly over the last 70 years and gutters need to be maintained to cope with this change.

Help and information

If you live in any kind of building containing flats, you have rights and responsibilities, along with your co-owners, to maintain and manage your building.
But, every building is different, so get professional help for anything more than a simple problem. 

Working with your neighbours will make sure you always deal with problems fairly and help maintain harmony in your building.

Repairs are inevitable and need to be tackled quickly before more damage is caused.

Follow these steps to ensure the repairs process goes smoothly and all owners pay their share.

Not satisfied with your flat? Check out what you can and can’t do to your flat to alter and improve it before deciding to sell and move on.