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Can I install solar panels on a listed building?

Can I install solar panels on a listed building?

Listed buildings are full of character and owning a historic property can be extremely appealing and satisfying. Many listed buildings are in beautiful locations like idyllic countryside locations or historic urban areas.

Occupying a listed property has a lot of benefits but heating and powering an older building efficiently can be a serious challenge. Owning a listed building doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t carry out solar panel building and installation, but the process will be more complicated.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about solar panels and whether you can install them on a listed property.

Do solar panels need to be approved?

Most properties in the UK do not need to acquire permission to install a solar system because solar PV panels are considered a “permitted development” for residential and small commercial systems.

However, installing solar panels on listed properties is more complex. If you own a listed property, then you will need to obtain “listed building consent” (LBC) from your local council before you can install solar panels on the roof. You can visit the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) website to check if the property is listed. Keep in mind that you may still need to apply for planning permission after you have obtained LBC.

To receive LBC, you must be able to demonstrate that the solar panels will not cause any major structural damage or significantly alter the character or appearance of the property. Ideally, the building should look the same if the solar panels are removed and cause no permanent damage to the property.

According to a report by Historic England: “Taking a whole-building approach is a logical process which enables the best possible balance to be struck between saving energy and reducing carbon emissions, sustaining heritage significance, and maintaining a healthy building.”

Fortunately, solar panels can be unnoticeable when they are installed with care. For instance, they can be installed in the garden or on outbuildings, although the roof is the desired location for full efficiency. This may be necessary in some circumstances, as many listed buildings have traditional roof materials that could not be suitable for solar panel installations e.g. thatched roofing.

How do I get permission to install solar panels on a listed building?

Firstly, you can get in touch with Mypower to discuss your project. We will be able to give you professional advice on installing solar panels on a historic building.

You will then need to apply for LBC and planning permission (if applicable) through your local council. You can find the forms online by visiting GOV.UK. Alternatively, you visit your local council offices and ask for the relevant paper forms.

What are the benefits of solar panels?

Solar power offers numerous benefits to businesses. Here are some of the top reasons to consider installing solar panels on your listed property:

  • Environmentally friendly - Solar panels generate clean electricity and are much more eco-friendly than traditional fossil fuels. Switching to solar power will reduce your carbon footprint and help minimise your environmental impact.
  • Cheaper energy bills - Solar panels will typically cut your electricity bill by 15-25% according to Energy Saving Trust. Use their Solar Energy Calculator to see how much you could save on your energy bills.
  • Return on investment - Solar panels pay for themselves over time by saving you money on electricity bills, and in some cases, earning you money through ongoing incentive schemes.
  • Low maintenance - Modern solar panels are extremely low maintenance once installed and they have an expected lifespan of 40-50 years.
  • Energy independence - Solar panels allow you to generate your own green electricity source. This means you will no longer rely on the traditional electric grid.

Grade 1 Listed Gloucester Cathedral Project

Mypower we were thrilled when we were brought in to install 150 solar panels on the top of Gloucester Cathedral, a 1,000-year-old grade 1 listed structure. Our project earned us first ‘Commercial Rooftop Solar PV Project of the Year’ Award at the 2017 Solar Power Portal Awards. See all of our awards here

Contact solar panels experts today

Installing solar panels on a listed building is more time consuming and complicated, but for many property owners, it’s worth it! Installing solar panels on the roof of your property will allow you to generate your own green electricity, lower your carbon footprint, and reduce your monthly utility bills. 

Get in touch with the solar experts at MyPower if you would like to find out more about solar PV panels or have any questions about installing solar panels.