Photovoltaic (Solar) Panels Guidance

Building Exemptions

Under the NZ Building Regulations there is a range of building work you can do yourself. The Building Work Consent Not Required Guidance includes guidance on solar panels from page 199 onwards.

Ground-mounted solar panel arrays up to 40 square metres in size can be built when the design is carried out or reviewed by a Chartered Professional Engineer.

When determining the position of a panel array, consideration needs to made to:

  • location and wind zone
  • compliance with the relevant electrical regulations and standards
  • check your proposal does not breech planning regulations, including those regarding site coverage and permitted activity.

Building Consent Requirements

If you plan to install roof solar panelling as part of your roof cladding, this may affect height-to-boundary restrictions. This may trigger the need for a resource consent.

There are several factors that may trigger the need for a building consent, which are listed below:

  1. Ground mounted solar panelling - that exceeds the conditions allowed for under the building exemption guidance (refer to above).
  2. Photovoltaic panels – These panels often form part of the roof cladding and would the need to confirm compliance with the Building Code.
  3. Solar panels installed on an existing roof of a building - are likely to impact the weight load bearing on the roof trussing. This would require a building consent, where building plans confirm the weight bearing calculations either continue to meet the requirements of Building Code B1, or additional structural design has been included to increase the weight bearing capability of the roof trussing.
  4. Solar panelling installed on an existing roof of a building where high wind zones may impact on the installation requirements.

** New home builds that include solar panels as part of the overall design include weight bearing measurements, as well as engineering design, which demonstrate compliance with the building code. This would include calculations that cover the wind zone for the area in which the new home is being constructed and height to boundary restrictions have been met.

KDC does not provide any specific guidance regarding “On-Grid” vs “Off-Grid”. This is a matter for the solar panel installer as KDC is not involved in electrical or power. Installers of electrical systems are self-certified and are responsible for issuing an energy work certificate.

Building owners should receive an energy work certificate from any electrical worker or gasfitter working on their property. This certifies that the work, connected to the energy supply, is safe, legal and complete.