Solar PV can be installed on most homes under permitted development rules which means you do not need permission before installing a solar PV system. However this isn’t the case if you wish to install solar panels on listed buildings, heritage properties or properties situated within a conservation area.
If you own a listed property you will need to consult LBC (Local Building Control) before installing solar panels as you may need to obtain listed building consent.
Conservation Officers have historically refused permission for installation of solar PV on heritage properties, properties in conservation areas and listed properties. However, with the UK government recently setting ambitious climate change targets, Conservation Officers are being forced to accept the need for change and find ways around their outdated ways of thinking!
Technology has dramatically shifted in recent years. Modern solar PV systems provide recessed designs which are sympathetic and sleek in appearance. Meaning solar PV on heritage properties is no longer the ‘eye sore’ it used to be!
Fully integrated solar PV systems now come with recessed flashings. The flashings are dark grey or black, and the panels and the frames can be black as well. So if a Conservation Officer would have normally approved several recessed conservation rooflights, thereby setting a precedent in an area, then there is now absolutely no reason not to approve a fully integrated solar PV System with all black panels.
The UK Government needs to Meet the Net Zero 2050 Obligation for carbon emissions (and it is currently well behind the curve to meet this obligation). With such a vast amount of property in the UK being heritage, listed or in a conservation area, there is added pressure on Conservation Officers in Local Government to re think their decisions and start to allow sympathetically designed Solar PV systems to be integrated into the roofs of such properties.
In response to concerns regarding problematic steps in applying for consent and the lack of permissible energy performance solutions for listed and heritage properties, recent correspondence from the RT Hon Christopher Pincher MP, Minister of State for Housing, states the following:
“The Government is fully committed to encouraging homeowners to incorporate energy efficiency measures in their properties in order to tackle climate change. As part of this, we recognise the need to ensure that more historic buildings have the right energy efficiency measures to support our zero carbon objectives.
In our recently published ‘Planning for the Future’ White Paper we have therefore committed to reviewing and updating the framework for listed buildings and conservation areas, to ensure their significance is conserved whilst allowing, where appropriate, sympathetic changes to support their continued use and address climate change. “
Installing integrated solar PV on heritage properties is also not as expensive as you might think! Once you offset the cost of sourcing and replacing slate you could find that installing solar on your heritage property actually costs you very little at all!
A lot of heritage, listed and conservation properties in the UK are in need of roof replacement. This provides a cost effective opportunity to install solar PV for the following reasons:
You can find our more about solar PV pricing in our Solar PV and Battery Storage Pricing Guide.
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