Installing money-saving solar rooftop schemes could become much easier for large convenience stores following proposals by government to drop key planning barriers.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has published a new consultation on technical planning issues in which it asks whether to extend permitted development to all non-domestic roof-top solar PV schemes up to 1MW (megawatt) in size.

Planning permission is not currently required for solar schemes of up to 50kW in size. If the move is successful this would mean that schemes 20 times this would not need planning permission in most circumstances.

While larger 250kW to 1MW roof top schemes are highly cost effective, and exceptionally efficient, having to wait for planning permission was deterring investment, the Solar Trade Association (STA) said.

STA chief executive Paul Barwell said: “We are pleased to see government is taking an important step to help deliver the strong solar PV roof-top market set out as a key objective in the Solar Strategy. We very much welcome this move. Solar power enjoys the highest levels of public support and it is an attractive addition to many warehouses, supermarkets and commercial buildings. However, the very poor levels of large roof-top deployment show that much more needs to be done to put the promised ‘rocket boosters’ under this market.”

The consultation is open until 26 September and submissions can be made here.