Solar Panels For Sheds: FAQs Answered

Solar panels are becoming an increasingly popular choice for powering sheds, offering a sustainable and efficient energy solution for a variety of uses. Beyond their practical benefits, they are also gaining traction as an alternative route for planning applications, making them an attractive option for homeowners (particularly those in conservation areas and listed properties) looking to comply with regulations. On top of that, with the ambitious 2025 Net Zero target continuing to loom over us, installing solar panels is a proactive step homeowners can take to contribute to energy independence and environmental sustainability.

In this article, we will address some of the most frequently asked questions about installing and using solar panels for sheds. From understanding the basics of solar technology to their worth and planning expectations.

Can You Have Solar Panels On A Shed Roof?

Sure, you can install solar panels on a shed roof in the UK. While it might seem obvious given the topic of this article, let’s clarify a few key points:

Firstly, it is indeed legal to install solar panels on your shed roof in the UK. For most types of outbuildings, including sheds, solar panel installations fall under permitted development rights, meaning you generally won’t need planning approval. However, there are specific conditions to meet to ensure your project qualifies for permitted development. Therefore, it’s always best to check with your local planning authority to confirm your project complies with these regulations.

Additionally, you need to ensure your shed roof is strong enough to support the solar panels. The structure should be robust enough to withstand wind lift, the added weight of the solar panels, and any snow loads during winter. The shed should be constructed from high-quality, durable materials to ensure it doesn’t buckle under the weight.

For a typical installation aimed at providing green energy to a residence, you’d need around nine solar PV panels. This setup requires a larger shed, more akin to a single garage-sized workshop, rather than a small garden shed.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to power just the shed itself, a smaller solar panel setup might suffice. These systems typically generate less electricity, which can be ideal for lighting or powering small devices and spaces. However, if you need to power heavy machinery or other high-energy equipment, a grid-connected system might be more suitable.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Solar Panels On Garden Sheds?

Before installing any kind of solar energy on your shed (summerhouse, garage, or other garden building) in the UK, you need to weight up the associated pros and cons:

Is It Worth Putting Solar Panels On My Shed?

When weighing up whether or not to put solar panels on your garden shed, you need to think about:

  • What you use (or will use) your shed for
  • How much power you need – for instance, is it simply to power the activities in your shed or your whole property?
  • The size, age, and condition of your shed
  • The strength and stability of the roof
  • The position of the building
  • Your budget

When considering how you use—or plan to use—your shed, solar panels can be a game-changer if you spend a lot of time there and need electricity for lights, appliances, gym equipment, or garden office tools. Imagine the savings and eco-friendly benefits of powering your shed with solar energy instead of mains electricity, especially for heating or lighting a summerhouse. The amount of solar energy you’ll need will depend on your specific usage, making it a tailored, cost-effective solution for your shed’s power needs.

How Much Electricity Can Solar Panels On Sheds Generate?

The electricity generated by solar panels on a shed depends on several factors: the number of panels, the roof’s orientation, and the panels’ performance. Let’s break this down to help you visualise it better.

Roof Size And Solar Panel Capacity

Shed roofs are generally smaller than house roofs, limiting the number of solar panels that can be installed. Despite this, a modest solar setup can significantly impact your energy usage. If your shed isn’t too large, the solar panels might generate enough electricity to power tools and other equipment you use there. Imagine running your power drill or saw on free, renewable energy—reducing your carbon footprint and saving on energy costs!

Efficient Use Of Space

Because sheds usually require fewer panels than a house, the installation is more cost-effective. You can maximise your shed’s roof space to meet your energy needs without the hefty installation costs associated with a larger residential system. Picture a compact, efficient solar array neatly fitted on your shed roof, quietly harnessing sunlight to power your devices.

Redirecting Power To Your Home

Another exciting possibility is directing the electricity generated by your shed’s solar panels back to your home. This setup would require running wiring from the shed to your home’s electricity meter. Envision a seamless connection where your shed not only powers your tools but also contributes to your household energy supply, making your home even more sustainable.

Let’s say you install four solar panels on your shed’s roof. If each panel generates around 300 watts of power, you could produce about 1.2 kilowatts of electricity on a sunny day. This could be enough to run several power tools simultaneously or charge batteries for later use. If you have a particularly sunny spot and the panels are optimally oriented, the output could be even higher.

Do you need planning permission for solar panels on a shed?

Whilst in most cases a property will not need planning permission for solar panels, especially if they are on a dwelling and not easily seen from the road, some properties, like listed buildings, flats, or those in conservation areas, might need permission to preserve the area’s look and function. Again, always check with your local planners to be sure.

How Can I Check If My Solar Installation Is Permitted Development?

How Do Solar Panels for Sheds Work?

This an explanation best left to a professional solar panel installer. Check out Tarven Solar Energy’s easy-to-understand guide to how solar panels work.

Can Neighbours Object To Solar Panels?

There is nothing stopping neighbours expressing their concerns with your solar panel project, but they can’t necessarily prevent you from installing them, provided your project adheres to planning regulations and Permitted Development guidelines.

Why Choose National Timber Buildings For Your New Timber Garden Shed

If your current wooden shed, garage, or other timber building isn’t structurally sufficient for solar panels and you’re considering investing in a brand-new garden building, we’re here to help. With over 40 years of experience in designing, manufacturing, and erecting bespoke garden buildings throughout the UK, there’s nothing we can’t assist you with.

All our wood is sustainably sourced and tanalised®, ensuring durability and environmental responsibility. Our buildings are bespoke, traditionally made, quality checked, and crafted in our UK-based workshop. While we don’t install solar panels ourselves, we can recommend trusted, professional solar companies who would be delighted to help you add solar panels to your building, either upon completion or at a later date.

Contact National Timber Building today, to discuss your requirements through.