Planning to Instal Solar Panels?

Along with purchase and installation costs, property owners should be mindful that building permits may be required.

The Building Act 2000 provides that owners must obtain building permits for alterations of, and additions to, existing buildings and the erection of new structures, unless the work is exempt, or a permit is not required.

The installation of solar panels on the roof (or the walls) of any building (including a garage or shed) is an addition to that building. The Building Act 2000 defines an addition to a building as building work.  Erection of solar panels on their own support frame on the ground is also building work, as it is the erection of a new structure.

Exemption from a building permit for the installation of small arrays of solar panels can be granted under an amendment to the Building Regulations 2004 (regulation 4(r)). The specified panel array size of 38m2 was to represent an “average domestic” installation that could generate electrical energy of approximately 3 kW. Exempting smaller solar installations from a permit was to reduce the compliance and installation costs to consumers and provide a boost to the local renewable energy sector.

Please note however that tilted solar panels – no matter what the size – are not exempt and building permits are required in each instance.

For more information, or to check if your planned installation can be granted an exemption, please contact Council's Building and Planning Officer on telephone (03) 64 714 711 or email

West Coast Council Working In partnership with our community
Tel: 03 64 714 700
Fax: 03 64 714 720
11 Sticht Street
PO Box 63
Queenstown TAS 7467