Solar energy

Solar map, is my house suitable?

To check whether solar generation is suited to your home, speak to Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accredited installers who are able to accurately assess your property for solar suitability:

MCS accredited installers

Bristol solar map

You can search for your property on our solar map to find an estimate of how much solar power you could generate. It's a rough guide so don’t rely on it as it does not take all factors into account.

For example: 51 BS7 2RD

Buildings are coloured where the map estimates there is at least 10 square metres of unshaded roof space. The colours represent the sun’s strength on this unshaded area:

  • Yellow: reasonable
  • Orange: good
  • Red: very good

Further information on the mapping is found in the Bristol Sunshine report.

Types of solar panel

Solar thermal panels use solar energy to heat hot water, which is then stored in a hot water tank.

Solar electric panels use photovoltaics (PV) to generate electricity, which can power your building or be exported to the national grid.

Before installing a solar energy system you should make sure your house is well insulated.

Do I need planning permission?

Solar panels on homes often do not need planning permission, as they are classed as “permitted development”. Planning permission is needed for non-domestic buildings and can also be needed if your home is listed or in a conservation area.

Further information is available on our planning pages or the National Planning Portal solar panel advice page.

Financial support

Financial support for solar generation is available through the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) electricity Feed In Tariff ( DECC site) and the Renewable Heat Incentive ( DECC site).

To qualify for this support and ensure your installation is to high quality, make sure that your installer is accredited via the Microgeneration Certification Scheme.

Advice about solar panels


The Energy Saving Trust (EST) provides a home energy check to help you understand the steps you can take to save energy in your home, as well as guides on solar technology.


The Carbon Trust provides sustainable energy advice for businesses. See the external links section.

Apply for the new community energy programme

We’re excited to announce a new community energy programme for the city.

We’re inviting community energy groups to apply for the use of a range of council owned buildings to deliver the benefits of community energy to local residents.

This is an opportunity for the successful community energy group(s) to be a major part of Bristol’s 2015 European Green Capital programme, developing a community energy pipeline within the city and ensuring Bristol’s green future.

We’re encouraging committed and capable community energy groups who are interested to apply for this programme. Please read the brief below and complete and return the expression of interest form.

We’ll select the winning bids in July.

Community energy programme brief (pdf, 379 KB) (opens new window)

Community energy programme expression of interest form (msword, 60 KB) (opens new window)