Solar Panels for Listed Buildings
I own a listed building, can I install solar panels?
On most properties solar panels come under the ‘permitted development’ clause, which means that planning permission is not needed and the panels can be installed at will, providing certain guidelines are adhered to.
The rules for listed buildings are different and far more complex. This does not mean that you will not be able to benefit from solar energy if you own a listed building. Permission will be granted on a case by case basis. In some circumstances you may have to be creative in your solar panel placement. For example, panels may need to be placed with a mounting bracket on a garage roof or area of land as opposed to the roof of the house.
Do I need planning permission?
If you would like to install solar panels on a listed building you will have to first get listed building consent.
Listed building consent is needed for any works that may change the appearance or disturb the historical materials of a listed building. You can find the full list of works that require listed building consent here.
Listed building consent is not granted instead of planning permission. Even if you are given consent you may still have to apply for planning permission, dependent on the placement of your panels and the condition of the listed building.
How to apply for planning permission
It is possible to apply for both listed building consent and planning permission through online forms on the website Planning Portal. You may also be able to obtain the forms in person at your local council offices.
+The form to apply for listed building permission only can be found here.
+The form to apply for planning permission, with listed building consent, can be found here.
+Some applications carry fees, here is a guide to current application fees.
What else do I need to consider?
When you own a listed property the aesthetic of the building must be taken into consideration. You must also find out what materials have been used on the building's roof as some materials may not support the panels.
If the roof will not directly support the panels a mounting bracket could be considered. However, brackets come with their own costs and problems and are not suitable for every property. Some of the house’s materials may hold historical value and should therefore avoid being potentially damaged by solar equipment.
A further consideration when installing solar panels on a listed building is that they must be installed in such a way that they can be removed quickly if they are not longer useful or if they prove damaging to the property’s aesthetic or structure over time.
If you would like to find out more you should talk to an MCS accredited installer. You can find MCS approved companies in your local area through the MCS website or by using the form at the top of the page.